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Rashelle Garrett of Ceres brought down the house with her spirit-stirring gospel song, "Save Me" to win the KAMB Christian Artist Search contest Saturday evening at Monte Vista Chapel in Turlock.

Garrett was selected from among 10 finalists in the Valleywide talent search contest. The winner was determined by votes logged in at the station's website during April and Saturday's performance. Judges looked at stage presence, vocal abilities and the spiritual qualities of the performance. They were vowed by Garrett's powerful performance.

The 29-year-old performed second to last of a number of great singers who took the stage before a packed house. Other contestants included Raquel Rodriguez of Ceres/Modesto, Jasmyn Grayson of Hughson, Jimmy Griffin of Merced, Gianna Izzo, Jennifer Langley and, Ty Caskey, all of Modesto, Phil King of Turlock, Vanessa Vasquez and Lacy Warne, both of Fresno.

Among those cheering on Garrett were members of her church, Keyes Assembly of God, where her brother, Brian Rice is pastor. Rashelle regularly leads worship at the church.

As winner, Rashelle was presented a $1,000 check. Perhaps bigger than that will be an opportunity to sing on the main stage of the Spirit West Coast, a huge summertime Christian concert festival near Monterey. She will also be singing at the Stanislaus County Fair in July. Garrett will also be treated to a recording session at Creation Lab Recording Studios in Turlock and receive 300 copies of it. Her song will also be played on KAMB for three months and maybe longer if requests continue to pour in.

On Sunday Rashelle was given the privilege of being the opening act at Sunday's Jamie Slocum concert at the Winton First Baptist Church. Slocum's latest single "Dependence" has been nominated for the Dove Award's "Inspirational Song of the Year."

Rashelle said she's prepared to make changes for what could be the launch of a new music career. She currently works part-time at a Turlock doctor's office and helps out with her husband's construction company.

"I just want to be used by God in whatever way He sees fit," she said.

The Merced based station, now in its 41st year, held the contest to find new talent within the Christian community. The contest drew approximately 175 entries. Garrett sent the station a demo of the song written by her sister-in-law Marci Garrett. The station liked Rashelle's delivery, which has the feel of a contemporary/black gospel.

Garrett described herself as "more of a soul singer than one would expect out of a white girl." She said she's been most inspired by spiritual musician Cece Winans.

Rashelle has been singing since she was 3, and got used to singing in front of crowds at church services.

KAMB's Dave Benton said that Garrett has been gifted by God with great musical ability. During an on-the-air interview Monday morning Rashelle said she hopes to reach people on a spiritual level with her music.

Well known in Ceres, Rashelle serves as the treasurer of the Ceres Seahawks and has sung the National Anthem at various events. She is scheduled to sing the National Anthem at Friday's Masonic Lodge Cornerstone Ceremony at the new Ceres Community Center. The event starts at noon.

Being allowed to advance her music fits in with Rashelle's lifelong dream. "I love music but I want to stay on the ministry side of it."