Grace Renee Eckelbarger is hoping the fourth time will be the charm in the CarmelFest Has Talent competition.
This will be the Noblesville resident’s fourth consecutive year participating in CarmelFest. She finished third the first two years and was a semifinalist in 2017.
“This year, I’m hoping to knock those judges socks off,” said Eckelbarger, who will compete in the 16-and-older division.
The age groups have been divided into two instead of three this year with a new category for instrumentals and ensembles. The competition is set for July 3 and 4.
Eckelbarger, one of five semifinalists in her division, plans to sing “Songs Like This” by Carrie Underwood.
“It’s a super-fun, upbeat song I think everyone will enjoy,” Eckelbarger said. “I like CarmelFest because it gives me the opportunity to share my voice with others. I love, love, love singing, and I believe it’s what I was made to do. CarmelFest has definitely helped me feel more comfortable on stage and in a competitive setting. The judges are always very kind and the atmosphere is fun.”
Eckelbarger graduated from Horizon Christian School in 2015 in Indianapolis. She has been pursuing music by taking classes from an online music program. She also has been working at Carmel Middle School as a child care worker in their Edu-Care program.
“The kids love it when I bring my guitar in and sing to them,” Eckelbarger said. “This fall I plan on looking into attending a community college to start studying music further.”
Samantha Voegele, a Noblesville resident who graduated from Lapel High School in 2017, also will compete in the 16-and-older division.
“I entered this competition (previously) and had a blast,” Voegele said. “I was inspired to audition again and perform because I love the atmosphere at CarmelFest. I enjoy performing on stage and entertaining the crowd. I will be performing ‘Unchained Melody’ as covered by LeeAnn Rimes.”
Voegele, who will be a Purdue University sophomore this fall, is majoring in Animal Sciences.
“I am very passionate about animals and hope to someday become a veterinarian,” she said.