By Mike Anderson

Twelve year-old Idara Udom from Keswick will perform at the CNEs annual Rising Star Competition, held on the International Stage at the Enercare Centre from August 19 to September 4.

“I’m nervous, but excited,” said Idara, who has never performed in front of a large audience.

Idara, who attends Lake Simcoe P.S., has been singing since the age of 3, and playing guitar since the age of 5.

While she likes songs by Bruno Mars and Alicia Keys, Idara has selected Listen by Beyonce for her CNE performance.

“Music is very important to our family. It flows from one generation to the other,” said Idara’s mother, Eunice, who also sings, mostly in choirs.

Idara’s father, Inemesit, also plays bass guitar and piano and has performed in several “Family” bands in his native Nigeria, while her brother, Imo, 11, plays piano.

Idara and her family on the front steps of their home in Keswick

In 2020, Eunice decided it was time for Idara to get serious about performing and she hired Frank Ohikhuare, a vocal coach from Nigeria.

Idara also recently enrolled in online guitar classes offered by the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.

“Idara was supposed to go for America’s Got Talent, but she said she wasn’t ready, so we didn’t push her,” Eunice said.

“But when the CNE came up, I asked her if she wanted to do that and she said yes.”

Idara was selected from hundreds of young vocalists, dancers and performers from across Ontario, who auditioned for a chance to win prize money and showcase their talents on a big stage.

Previous winners of the competition include crooner Matt Dusk, and choreographer Blake McGrath (So You Think You Can Dance/MTV’s DanceLife).

Contestants aged 6 to 21 are judged on their natural ability, audience appeal, stage presence and the quality of their performance.

Idara is planning to attend the music program at Huron Heights S.S. in Newmarket and hopes one day to become a professional musician.

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