River’s Got Talent
by Samantha Wright
10.15.13 - 05:00 am

Ouray 4th Grader Shines in Statewide Talent Contest

OURAY – Ever since River Manley was old enough to talk, she has been singing. 

“We would never be able to go up the street unless she had her princess outfit on, and she would sing for everyone in Duckett’s Market when she was only one,” River’s mom, Kendra Manley recalled. 

Last weekend, River’s love of singing took her to whole new heights, as the Ouray Elementary School 4th grader performed John Lennon’s beloved anthem of peace, “Imagine”, in the Colorado You Got Talent State Finals at the Stargazers Theatre in Colorado Springs. At 9 years old, River was the youngest of 73 kids across the state to make it to finals, out of thousands who auditioned. 

CYGT is an annual talent show, now in its fourth season, which gives up and coming singers, musicians and other performers in Colorado a chance to showcase their talents. Contestants represent their communities in an all-out battle to become Colorado’s Performer of the Year. The contest has categories for both kids and adults, and follows a format similar to that of American Idol and other popular TV shows, with a panel of judges that gives instant feedback to each performer.

Although she has always loved to sing, River never performed on stage until earlier this year, when she found out that CYGT was holding auditions in Montrose. She auditioned, made that cut, progressed to a regional competition in Salida in August, made that cut, too, and then progressed to the state finals in Colorado Springs last weekend. 

River didn’t win that grand prize – this year. But she’s already set her sites on competing again.

“The judges were very supportive of her, and it was a great experience,” Kendra said. “This was all her doing. She did not want any help; she wanted to do it all on her own. I was proud of her for having the guts to do it.”

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