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Richmond Hill's own idols
Shirley Says
Bria Caruthers, left, and Cassidy Thacker wowed the judges at the recent Richmond Hill Idols competition in J.F. Gregory Park. - photo by Photo provided.

Many people believe singing is a gift – you are either talented or not. Others believe one can be taught to sing.
I’m not sure which I believe to be most true. Not a natural singer, I’m amazed by people who sing so well. They open their mouths and sweet melodic sounds flow. It appears singing comes naturally to them.
Perhaps one is born with a natural talent to sing. Surely, a beautiful voice is a gift from God. There are many talented singers in Richmond Hill. Some sing the blues, some country, and others pop. These singers bring us joy, others touch our hearts until tears well in our eyes.
At the last Old Time Family Festival in Richmond Hill, two young ladies competed in the Richmond Hill Idol competition and delivered award-winning performances. They held hundreds spellbound with their passionate and emotional songs. Bria Caruthers and Cassidy Thacker are Richmond Hill Idols!
In the 16 and older age group, 17-year-old Bria captured the trophy for 2010 Richmond Hill Idol. The teen singing sensation worked her magic at the fourth Richmond Hill Idol contest with a song from the Broadway musical Chicago. When Bria sang Big Spender, she rocked J F. Gregory Park.
Someone in the audience made winning the trophy more special. Her stepfather was there, filming her performance. He had returned from Korea that day and had never heard her sing. It was a day to remember.
Singing since she was 3 years old, Bria said she has no memory of being nervous while singing. The large crowd in the park heightened her desire to belt out her song.
Her biggest influences are her mother and grandmother. As a young child, they took her to church and she began singing with them in the choir. She has never stopped singing.
Bria will be a senior next month at Richmond Hill High School. After graduation, she plans to go to college and major in music. Meanwhile she will voluntarily coach a pre-teen cheerleading squad for the Richmond Hill Recreation Association when school starts in August.
How many people do you know have auditioned for American Idol? I only know one –Bria Caruthers. After an arduous process, Bria went to Atlanta and auditioned. The experience was exhilarating and encouraging.
With a big smile, Bria added, “It is a long process that’s worth it to achieve the big dream. I have been invited to come back and try out again this year. Their thought is I will be more mature.”
Bria shared some of her thoughts with me: “I think to be a great singer you have to be thinking of someone or something while singing. If you just go through the motions, it’s not going to be a good performance.”
Her brown eyes sparkled as she went on to say, “You have to believe in the song you’re singing. I do that every time – I feel the words and I am inspired.”
You can hear Bria sing at J.F Gregory Park in December. She has been invited to perform at the Chili Cook-Off. Surely, when you hear her sing, you will agree there is no stopping her – a star is rising!
In the 15 and under age group, 12-year-old Cassidy Thacker was crowned 2010 Richmond Hill Idol. She sung I’ll Stand by You (the Carrie Underwood version). Cassidy, the daughter of Michael and Angie Rushing Thacker, has been singing since she was about 14 months old. Amazingly, she was able to carry a tune at that age.
Cassidy can not only sing, she can also dance. She has danced competitively for eight years in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, modern and acrobatic and has won numerous awards.
Three years ago, Cassidy began vocal performance lessons with Ginger Fawcett, the lead singer of Liquid Ginger. As a part of Ginger’s group, Sing Savannah, she entertained at various local charity fund raising events.
In Cassidy’s matter-of-fact style she said, “My mom, of course, is my inspiration, but Ginger Fawcett has definitely made an impact on my life. I know I want to be my own person and have a unique style.”
Cassidy received honors from WJCL, featured on a news segment singing and dancing. She was given the title “A Kid You Should Know.” Winning is not new for Cassidy. She won a vocal contest hosted by Savannah Now, Coastal Mommies “My Kid Can Sing.”
With Cassidy’s talent and ambition, she will achieve her dreams. She is already mapping her future.
“Though I have been singing and dancing a long time, I’m torn between the two,” she said. “If I had the choice, I would love to go to Julliard College and do both!”
Sounding as pragmatic as her mother, Cassidy mused, “As far as knowing what I want to be, it’s undecided. My future depends on what happens in the future.”
Lady GaGa has said, “You have to be unique and different and shine in your own way,”and that’s exactly what Cassidy and Bria are doing.

Hiers was born and raised in Richmond Hill. You can reach her at

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