01/05/07 — Wayne adds fiddler to TV show talent list

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Wayne adds fiddler to TV show talent list

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 5, 2007 1:49 PM

A video of Wayne County's second contender in the CBS TV Early Show's talent competition will be broadcast Monday. Samantha Casey, 10, a student at St. Mary School, will play "Beaumont Rag" on the fiddle.

A video of her playing the tune was selected by the producers of "Living Room ... Live! Kids," and she and her parents, Daniel and Judy Casey of Pine Level, were notified last month that the video would be aired.

Samantha comes by her talent naturally.

He father is a well-known local bluegrass musician. Samantha already has developed a reputation as a musician, often appearing with her father.

Singer Madeline Edwards, 11, of Goldsboro, already has already been featured in the competition, performing a song from an opera and winning a first-round showdown to advance to the second round. Voting for her ended today at noon. The winner of the round will be announced Monday.

Mrs. Casey said the two girls showcase the variety of talent that Wayne offers.

"We've got opera and opry," she said.

Having grown up in a home where bluegrass rules, Samantha said she hopes to one day be able to perform at the Grand Ole Opry.

She will go into a studio this month to start recording a CD with her father, who has been playing a variety of instruments for nearly three decades.

Samantha started playing the fiddle at age 5. As her talent grew, so did the size of her instruments, from a quarter-size fiddle to a full-size one.

"She got one from great-grandfather Luby Casey and the other one was willed to her from Blackie Martin," a friend who played music with Daniel Casey, her mother said.

Samantha's first public performance came at age 7, when she played for a gathering of the Wayne County Shrine Club. Since then, she has played to numerous audiences around eastern North Carolina, including the Country Music Showcase at Johnston Community College. She and her father regularly perform in the area as "Samantha Casey and the Bluegrass Jam"

There are three rounds in the CBS competition, with the winner of each going on to compete for the grand prize -- a trip to New York to perform live on the Early Show.

Mrs. Casey said the family was "pretty excited" to get the call from the TV producers, but she said Samantha's reaction was more subdued than her parents.

"She's a sweetheart. People come up to her all the time and give her a lot of attention. She just shrugs it off. She's very humble with it," Mrs. Casey said. "She's just having fun with it."

Samantha admits she enjoys playing before an audience, as well as such venues as Chester Thompson's Old-Time Radio Jamboree on WGBR.

"That was cool," she said. "Performing is fun. I like going up on stage."

On Monday's program, she will compete against two other contestants, with a brief portion of each video shown. Viewers will be instructed to watch the entire videos online at ww.cbsnews.com and then vote for their favorite.

"You can vote more than once," Mrs. Casey noted.

Voting begins Monday and ends at noon on Wednesday. The weekly winner will be announced on Thursday.

Should Samantha win and Madeline continue to advance, the two Wayne girls could face one another. They know one another, both having attended the same school for a time.