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Terrace athletes showcasing their singing abilities tonight at Terrace Idol finals

By Steve Willits

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One of my favorite annual Mountlake Terrace High School events is happening tonight up at the school. It is not a sporting event and I will not be broadcasting, however it does involve athletes whom I’ve gotten to know during my tenure as the play by play announcer for Hawks sports.

The finals for Terrace Idol are tonight in the MTHS Theater at 7pm and it is something that I would highly recommend for anyone that enjoys live music performances. Much like the American Idol television show, this is a singing competition in which contestants advance from one round to the next by outperforming other singers according to judges. This is a contest that is open to students at all high schools within the Edmonds School District. Five students will be competing in the finals tonight. Auryana Ashoori of Lynnwood, Caitlin Yalos of Edmonds Woodway and three students from Mountlake Terrace: Maddy Caiola, Alisha Clinghan and Dominic DeMiero.

Terrace Idol is open to the public and the cost of admission is only $5. Try heading downtown to a performing arts venue and finding a better deal. Gas and parking costs just to get to Seattle exceed the price of Terrace Idol and that doesn’t even include the price of show tickets. This is a chance to see quality entertainment for a fraction of the cost and the students that will be performing are members of our great community.

I’m looking forward to watching all five of these deserving finalists however I will be paying special attention to two of the finalists in particular based on my affiliation with the Terrace sports programs.

Dominic DeMiero and Alisha Clinghan are both athletes that play sports that I’ve broadcasted at MTHS for the Sound Live Sports Network and they are students that I’ve come to know as athletes and as people.

Dominic was an All-Wesco pitcher for the Hawks baseball team last year who also happens to be one of the better hitters on the team. I’ve had the pleasure of announcing some of Dominic’s outstanding performances last year when he played a key role in leading the Hawks baseball team to the playoffs. The baseball diamond isn’t the only time that I’ve spent around Dominic. As most people affiliated with MTHS already know, Dominic’s father Vince has been a teacher at the school for many years. I’ve actually known Vince since my days as a Terrace student and now he is my broadcast partner for many of the Hawks sporting events. Dominic has assisted on many of our broadcasts in various capacities: production, camera operator, statistician, social media, etc. I’ve also had the pleasure of going fishing with both of the DeMiero boys and know that Dominic is an excellent fisherman too.

I got to know Alisha through volleyball and unfortunately I have yet to see her play as a torn ACL in her knee forced her to sit out the season. She did however gain my admiration for the support that she gave her team from the bench. I sent an e-mail to all of the Terrace volleyball players prior to broadcasting our first game this season so that I would have things to talk about during breaks in the action. Alisha replied to me that while she was not able to contribute on the court, she was still going to help the team in other ways. “For now, I’m the best ‘manager’ ever and cheer on my team” she said in her e-mail. I found out quickly that she was true to her word as I watched her constantly cheering and encouraging her teammates whenever they made big plays. A couple of times she made me nervous as I watched her hustle up and down the bench with high fives for her teammates. After all, this was an athlete with a knee injury jumping around but she seemed determined to let her teammates know that she was excited about their efforts and accomplishments. The Hawks volleyball team ended up winning a Wesco Conference championship for the first time since 1982 and while Alisha may not have been a factor on the court, I have no doubt that her contributions on the sidelines played a role in helping the Hawks to the championship.

Performing on the stage and performing in the music world is not a stretch for either of these two. Dominic comes from a talented musical family. His mother Debbie is a professional piano player and a music teacher and to say his grandfather Frank DeMiero is a highly regarded vocal jazz educator is an understatement (Check out Frank’s bio here). Dominic received his first full drum set when he was three years old, started playing the trumpet in the fifth grade, sang in the Seattle Children’s Chorus for three years and played the lead role in an opera titled “Amahl and the Night Visitors” when he was in the sixth grade. Of and course he also plays the piano. “I never really had a choice whether or not I wanted to play the piano but I’m definitely thankful now when I look back at all the times that she (Mom) gave me lessons” said Dominic.

Alisha also has been involved with music most of her life. “I grew up singing in my church where I was in a lot of plays and sang a lot of solos” said Alisha. “Now that I’m older, I sing for the worship team at my church which I really enjoy. Also this is my second year in the Accents Choir at school where I have grown a lot musically”. Alisha also has played piano and flute.

Both have taken different paths to getting involved with Terrace Idol. This is Dominic’s first year of participating and he said that his musical abilities have been somewhat of a secret around the school. He said that his girlfriend Brittany Kinsella and best friend Luke Luttrell were the only two MTHS students that knew about his singing talents. “I honestly never thought I’d do Terrace Idol and definitely wouldn’t have done it if Brittany wouldn’t have convinced me to so I’ve got to give her credit” said Dominic.

Alisha is participating in Terrace Idol for the third straight year and was even a finalist last year. Her singing skills were known by many before the start of Terrace Idol 2014 and the fact that she is once again in the finals was not a surprise to very many people that know her.

I asked Dominic and Alisha if they get nervous about performing and since my ties to them are through athletics, I wanted to know if there are similarities between getting nervous about singing as opposed to the experience of preparing for a sporting event. “Luckily I’ve had some experience singing in front of an audience when I was a kid so I think it could be worse in terms of nervousness” said Dominic. “It’s not really when I’m out on stage as much as it is with the time you have to think about it beforehand”.

Dominic also mentions that he relieves some of his excess adrenaline and energy by doing push-ups, jumping jacks and giving high fives to people backstage. “It’s actually similar to when I first go to the mound (to pitch) in a game because everyone gives me a high five, pats me on the (back) and tells me to go get em. No one pats me on the (back) before Terrace Idol but I kind of get the same feeling of excitement”.

Alisha admits to feeling nervous before sporting events and singing but pointed out that they are not one and the same. “When I’m singing, my nerves really kick in and I shake quite a bit. During sports I get jittery and anxious before but once I start playing, my adrenaline kicks in and I get in the zone” said Alisha who did say that there is one similarity. “What I find with both is that the more and more that I do (both), the less nervous I become every time.”

I was also curious to whether or not their sports teammates have been supporting them in their musical endeavors. “A lot of people have come out to support me and that’s truly the best part” said Dominic. I know that some of my baseball buddies have watched me so that’s also really cool. Most of the people come to see me just because they didn’t know I sang so that always fun seeing their reactions after the show.”

Alisha is also getting support from her teammates. “A handful of my teammates have come out to support me. A lot of my teammates are some of my best friends. We always support each other in everything we do.”

So what can we expect from both of these performers tonight? Dominic performed Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah in the first round and Frank Sinatra’s version of “Fly Me to the Moon” in the 2nd round. He wouldn’t divulge what song(s) he would be performing tonight but he did offer a hint. “I won’t tell you what I’m going to sing but I can say that it’s the 50th Anniversary of the Beetles coming to town”. I should also point out that all of the finalists will sing one song during the competition and a second song if they win.

Alisha was a little more forthcoming about her song choices for the night. She sang “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz in the first round and “Only Hope” by Mandy Moore in the 2nd round. Her song choice for tonight is going to be “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone (made famous by Michael Buble) and if she wins she will perform “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.

An extremely meaningful coincidence for the Terrace Idol Finals is that both Dominic and Alisha will be accompanied on the piano by their Mothers, both named Debbie. Dominic even went so far as to call his Mom the “best accompanist ever” and then said “I’m really glad we’ve been able to experience this whole thing together”. I didn’t get a chance to ask Alisha about her feelings about her Mom performing with her but I’m sure she would have expressed very similar sentiments. Something tells me both of the Debbie Moms are proud of their amazingly talented children and that this will be a special night for both of them as well.

Dominic DeMiero and Alisha Clinghan are both winners regardless of whether or not they finish in first place tonight. I’m looking forward to sitting back and watching them perform along with the other finalists. It will be a night of entertainment as well as an opportunity to take pride in the talents and accomplishments being displayed by members of the community. Go Hawks!

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The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.
Terrace athletes showcasing their singing abilities tonight at Terrace Idol finals