Precious Boyd rocks Rockin’ in Roxboro vocalist competition

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Thirteen-year-old Precious Boyd wowed the celebrity judges and the sold-out audience to be named the winner of the Rockin’ in Roxboro competition on Saturday night. Person County teacher Tina Powell Kennedy was named runner-up.  

Sponsored by Piedmont Community College’s (PCC) Alpha Upsilon Theta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society, the student-led event benefitted the Kirby Rebirth: Upstairs-Uptown project to renovate the second floor of the historic Kirby Cultural Arts Complex. Teresa Burch, project chairman, said the event earned over $6,000 for the Kirby Rebirth. 

“When this project was in the planning stages, I hoped and prayed that we would have some people besides family and friends show up,” said Burch. “But the people of Roxboro proved to me once again what a great community we live in and how they can be counted on to help out when needed. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that we would have over 600 people attend in a great show of support for our local contestants and for the Kirby.”  

In addition to Boyd and Kennedy, contestants included Joyce Deese, Michael Dixon, David Ramsey, Robin Riggins, Joey Scott, and Leslie Wyatt. They performed for celebrity judges Cody Clark of WQDR Radio, Miss North Carolina Johna Edmonds, Mike Morse of WNCN-TV’s My Carolina Today show, and Brian Shrader of WRAL-TV.  

The judges said they were impressed with the talent of all the contestants, and especially with the big voice of the diminutive Boyd, who they compared to Whitney Houston.  Boyd sang “At Last” by Etta James in the initial round of competition. In an unexpected offer, Morse also invited Boyd to appear on his television show last Monday morning for a live performance. Her performance may be viewed online at  

Local law enforcement investigator Ricky Hughes served as emcee, interviewing the contestants following each performance and keeping the audience entertained. Also performing in the program were Chuck Dixon, who previously won an audition for American Ido, and Roxboro Community School student Jenna Scott.  

PTK dedicated Rockin’ in Roxboro to the late Doug Newell, former executive director of the Person County Arts Council in recognition of his contributions to the arts in Person County and to the Kirby Cultural Arts Complex. Members of the Newell family were seated on the front row as special guests, and Roxboro Mayor Merilyn Newell spoke about her late husband’s commitment to the arts.   Elizabeth Townsend, Executive Director of the PCC Foundation, recognized major Kirby Rebirth contributors on stage between the three rounds of competition.  

PTK members chose to hold the local vocal competition as its Honors in Action project, using the theme “Competition in the Arts” in May 2013 and began planning. “We immediately knew what we wanted to do with this project,” recalled Burch. “Since this project needed to benefit the community, we felt that the Kirby Rebirth would be the perfect beneficiary.”  

Calling the Kirby Theater “a pillar of our community and a beautiful landmark that holds so much artistic history,” Burch said, “The building is part of what makes our hometown special. The other part is the citizens of this community who support us.”  

The first phase of the Kirby Rebirth project will be used to provide access to the second floor of the Kirby Building through the installation of an elevator and other infrastructure improvements. The upstairs space will be used for art studios, galleries, rehearsal space, and a large meeting room.  

Photo information Pictured from left are: Johna Edmonds, Brian Shrader, Precious Boyd, Cody Clark, and Mike Morse.