Thursday, March 23, 2006
Whitney Rodriquez, the pint-sized performer from Lindale is heading to the bright lights of Las Vegas to compete in the USA World Showcase competition at the MGM Grand, and she's taking with her a not-so-pint-sized talent and determination.She'll be performing at the MGM Grand Hotel for the chance to win a grand prize of $50,000 dollars. Her July 1 performance will also air on PAX television Monday, Aug. 28, so the entire country has the opportunity to see this little lady hit the high notes.Auditioning over the phone is a difficult way to make it to the big time, but for Miss Rodgriquez, it's one of the steps she's willing to take to make her dreams come true.Rudy Rodriquez, Whitney's father, found the competition and submitted his daughter's name for consideration. The audition call came and Whitney belted out an acappella rendition of God Bless America over the phone. An automated teller said if she made the cut, she'd get her acceptance letter in the mail.And sure enough, that letter arrived at the Rodriquez doorstep about a week later, asking for Whitney's official entry into the Vegas competition.This will not be Whitney's first live performance. Over the past two years, she's competed in places like the East Texas State Fair, winning first place, and East Texas Idol, placing second.She was invited to perform at Lindale's CountryFest last October and has already been invited to perform at the 2006 BullFest. Lindale Early Childhood is also hoping to have Whitney perform at the Family Fun Night scheduled for April.According to her mother, Glenda, Whitney has been a singer from the start. "When she started being able to speak, she would sing," said Mrs. Rodriquez. "We sang Jesus Love Me to her all of her life and she knew the words, and she'd just sing it."She got to be a little showman; she was so tiny; barely old enough to speak, and she would just sing." Incredulously, people would ask her parents 'is she singing?'"Everywhere we went, everyone wanted to hear her sing; and it's just kind of grown."For her competition in Vegas, Whitney will be allowed to sing the songs of her choosing, and right now, her preferred song is Cowboy's Sweetheart. which includes a bit of yodeling."She's never had any training," said Rodriquez. But she practiced for 'days and days and days,' according to her Mom to make sure she'd gotten it right. Now, Whitney yodels with the best of them.Whitney's excitement and determination continues to grow, as does her love for singing. "I just like it," said Whitney. "singing is pretty much what I do. I like to sing. There's nothing else I like to do besides singing."She has several dreams that are driving her at this time. "I'd really like to make a C.D," she said. And as for her future plans; "I'd like to make a career out of (singing)."And in the meantime, she's eager to share the stage with another Lindale singer, Nashville Star contestant Casey Rivers. "Oh, he knows," said Mom. Whenever Casey is around, Whitney makes sure to stop by and say hello. At Lindale's CountryFest, Casey found Whitney too late to hear her sing, and regretted having missed her performance.Whitney finds encouragement in the fact that both Rivers, and singer Miranda Lambert have both come from Lindale. "Well," she said, "there's Miranda Lambert, and then Casey Rivers, and then there could be Whitney Rodriquez!"The Rodriquez family encourages Whitney to pursue her dreams and sing from her heart. "Don't sing like the person you heard; you sing like Whitney," says Mrs. Rodriquez. "You do it your way.""(Whitney) has a God-given talent and I love to hear her sing," says her father. "We are her biggest fans. We feel very proud of her; I'm just amazed by what comes out of that voice."As long as it's fun, we'll keep on doing it. If it stops being fun to her, we'll stop.""I want her to be happy in her life. I want God to be first in whatever she chooses; I want her to be successful in whatever she chooses to do," said Mrs. Rodriquez.What's the best part of singing? "Seeing the people expressions," said Whitney. Do the butterflies still get to her? "(They) used to, but now I just get really excited."
Posted by Glenda, saved by grace at Thursday, March 23, 2006