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Ceres woman finalist in KAMB contest
Entering a musical contest sometimes takes more than confidence - like faith. Rashelle Garrett, 29, of Ceres, is among the top 10 finalists in a talent search sponsored by KAMB 101.5 AM Christian radio station.

The Merced based station is holding a contest to find new talent within the Christian community. She sent the station a portrait, and a demo CD in which she sang an original song, "Save Me," written by sister in law Marci Garrett. Four judges pored over 174 entries and selected Rashelle's song, which has the feel of a contemporary/black gospel, as well as nine others.

"I've been more of a soul singer than one would expect out of a white girl," said Rashelle.

The winner will be selected by daily voting tallies logged in at starting today through May 1, as well as a judge panel who will hear all contestants at a special live show held at Turlock's Monte Vista Chapel on May 2. Listeners may only vote for their favorite once per day. The website has posted biographies of all 10 finalists as well as their personal testimonies of their faith in Jesus Christ and samples of their songs.

Rashelle has been singing since she was 3, and got used to singing in front of crowds at church services. She's a member of Keyes Assembly of God where her brother, Brian Rice, is pastor. There she leads worship, plays the piano and helps with the youth program.

"We're a very musical family," said her mother, Debbie Rice of Ceres. Rashelle reminds her mother of a mix between popular Christian artists Natalie Grant and Cece Winans. "She's always been into gospel music."

Rashelle is well known in Ceres as she has served as the treasurer of the Ceres Seahawks and has sung the National Anthem at various events. She is scheduled to sing the Star Spangled Banner at the April 4 opening day ceremony of Ceres Youth Baseball at Smyrna Park. But she's hoping that the contest opens her up to recognition beyond Ceres.

"This is a neat opportunity," said Rashelle. "It fits what I've wanted to do for so long. I love music but I want to stay on the ministry side of it."

Rashelle works part-time at a Turlock doctor's office and helps out with her husband's construction company. But if the contest leads to a music career, she's prepared to make a change.

Rashelle has entered contests before and won. About 14 years ago she was a finalist in a contest where she was flown to Tennessee for a TV appearance.

The winner not only wins a cash prize but will be treated to the recording of an original song at the Creation Lab Recording Studios in Turlock and receive 300 copies of it. The song will also be played on KAMB for three months and maybe longer if requests continue to pour in. If she wins Garrett will also get stage time at the popular Spirit West Coast concert event in July as well as the Stanislaus County Fair.

Tickets for the Monte Vista event will be available through KAMB. Rashelle said she does well singing on a church stage but admits there might be butterflies knowing that she's being judged. But her philosophy of singing is based on her relationship to Jesus Christ. "I entertain one, which is God, and He entertains the church."