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Karaoke champ wants everyone singing

AOC student excels at singing competitions

Posted: November 17, 2009 8:48 p.m.
Updated: November 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Academy of the Canyons student Rachel Cyprus, 16, travels throughout Southern California to compete in Karaoke events. She hopes to expose more people to getting on stage and hopes to make performing arts a career.

Sixteen-year-old Academy of the Canyons student Rachel Cyprus is no stranger to entertaining audiences.

From Bakersfield to Orange County, the Valencia resident has engaged audiences all over the greater Los Angeles area with her karaoke performances, one note at a time.

But practice has made perfect since Cyprus’ discovery of the Japanese form of stage entertainment at age 5.

In September, Cyprus took home first place in the Crème de la Kids karaoke competition at the Los Angeles County Fair.

The competition was held as part of the 14th annual Karaokefest, the largest karaoke competition in the country.

After scoring highest in three regional qualifying rounds and one semifinal round, Cyprus was chosen as one of five finalists to compete at the fair in the category of singers ages 17 and younger.

“I love to sing and it makes me feel so good to see people’s faces while I am performing,” Cyprus said.

Faces beamed during Cyprus’ winning performance of the Kristin Chenoweth song, “The Girl in 14-G,” a vocal performance that calls for a multi-faceted singing range of operatic skill.

Cyprus knows why this kind of performance is not just your average singalong.

“Karaoke is special to me for so many reasons,” Cyprus said. “It’s not just people getting up and singing. It’s a chance to let them perform. There is a big difference.”

Cyprus’ name was announced as winner in front of more than 100,000 visitors. But Cyprus knows there is more to the competition than winning over the audience.

“For me it’s not so much about winning, although that is definitely fun. What I’d really like to do is get more people participating,” Cyprus said. “It’s great to see how much people enjoy themselves once they perform their first song.”

Although the Karaokefest stage was only open to performers in the competition, Cyprus has her own plan to create places for first-timers to get up and try their hand at the microphone.

“I always encourage kids to get up and sing because it can be so good for them,” Cyprus said. “There aren’t enough places for kids to do karaoke so I want to find or create more of them.”

Aside from Vincenzo’s, the Newhall pizzeria, Cyprus said that to attend other junior karaoke nights, she has traveled as far as Riverside, Garden Grove, Orange County Marketplace, Simi Valley and Bakersfield.

But wherever the venue, the performer knows a stage can be found anywhere from ice rinks and swap meets to the car and shower.

Cyprus hopes to begin doing karaoke parties for kids as well as run karaoke nights at more venues in the future.

Opening doors for singalong stage debuts is only part of the mission for this singer.

“I hope to graduate from (Academy of the Canyons) with my high school diploma as well as an associates degree in theater. I want to become a professional performer but also plan to teach performing arts,” Cyprus said.

Cyprus hopes to attend the University of California, Irvine as a junior-level theater major.

Cyprus’ mother, Linda, has watched her daughter grow through music while helping others uncover the performer within.

“From a very early age, she was always singing and it is really a special part of her,” Linda Cyprus said. “When she attends various karaoke nights, she’s got huge fans in the children. She helps get them on stage and gets them excited about what they are doing. It’s so great to see because I know it’s something she wants to do with her life.”

The singer knows that efforts offstage help performers shine their brightest.

“It makes me feel good to sing and express myself. If I am feeling bad, singing is a good way for me to get my feelings out so I can move on,” Cyprus said. “I think it’s important to help kids know the value of performing arts.”


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