Brother and sister acts Noah and Aaralyn Castro and Atalie Bogh dazzled judges with their singing and instrumental talents to win the grand prize in their respective age groups at the sixth annual Yucachella talent show Saturday night at Yucaipa High School.
It was the second year in a row that Aaralyn Castro took home the grand prize in the Middle School Division. Last year, Aaralyn sang a cover of Ariana Grande’s “Almost Is Never Enough,” while accompanying herself on the piano. This time, the Mesa View Middle School eighth-grader strummed away on acoustic guitar while singing “Like to Be You” by Shawn Mendes.
Bogh is also a grand prize repeat winner. The Yucaipa High senior said she won at the first Yucachella when she was a seventh-grader.
“That was a long time ago,” she said, with a smile.
Bogh’s beautiful performance of “Through the Constellations,” her own original composition, on the piano caught the judges’ attention.
She wrote the piece many years ago after she was inspired by another girl.
“I was in awe that she could do that,” she said about her experience at a music recital. “There was a girl there and she had composed her own song so I just said I want to do that.”
Looking stylish in a hat and his jeans rolled up into cuffs, Noah Castro belted out his version of “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars. It was a somewhat unusual song choice for a fourth-grader at Valley Elementary.
“When Noah was asked why he chose this song,” emcee Jeff Litel said during the introduction, “he said, ‘Because I like Bruno Mars.’”
The hundred or so in attendance erupted into chuckles.
“I think Bruno needs to watch it out there,” Litel said, drawing more laughs.
Noah’s performance proved he knew what he was doing.
Among those supporting the 14 performers were Yucaipa Councilman Greg Bogh, his wife and school board member Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh and school board president Chuck Christie, who helped present the awards.
Sue Christensen, board member of the Yucaipa-Calimesa Educational Enrichment Foundation (YCEEF), which sponsors the talent show, admitted there was quite a few less performers this year than last year’s 23. She thought the main reason for that was because Yucachella was moved up a few weeks.
“Now we see why we shouldn’t do that,” she said, noting conflicts included the World Series that night and auditions held the Saturday of AutumnFest, the two-day event of activities, music and vendors in Uptown Yucaipa.
Originally, Yucachella was held in December. Then last year it was in November.
Other 2019 winners
Elementary ($20 each): Vocalists, Tanna Mandolin and Isabella Saluja; Dancer/Gymnast, Kaylin Ortiz; Variety Act, Zeke Bernier; and Vocalist, Charlotte Walter.
Middle school ($35 each): Instrumentalist, Valerie Wall; and tie, Vocalist, Oddasally Cisneros and Landon Augusto.
High school ($50 each): Dancer/Gymnast, Bethany Montano; Variety Act, Ben Pierson; and Vocalist, Rayvin Tankerson.
YCEEF strives to support the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District with innovative programs for both academic and performing arts. The talent show is one of its annual events.