A look at this year’s Hoosier Star finalists

For tickets, visit www.HOOSIERSTAR.com

The 14th annual Hoosier Star competition is fast approaching. The date is Saturday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.) at the Civic Auditorium in LaPorte. Ten finalists will be competing for the title after winning a preliminary round this past March.

Hoosier Star is divided into two categories: Youth – 17 and under, and Adult – 18 and older. The adult winner receives $1,000; the youth winner receives $500. Each finalist will sing a song of their choice with the LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Alastair Willis.

“I am thrilled to be back collaborating with the LCSO and fantastic statewide talent for this year’s Hoosier Star!” Willis said.

The 2019 Hoosier Star competition is made possible with support from Horizon Bank, NIPSCO, LaPorte Hospital and V. Michael and Cherri Drayton.

Tickets are available at www.HOOSIERSTAR.com or at one of these ticket outlets: Roxy Music Shop, 1012 Lincolnway, LaPorte; LaPorte Civic Auditorium, 1010 Ridge Street, LaPorte; LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau/Marquette Mall, 4072 S. Franklin St., Michigan City. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Food and drink from Indiana Deli, Ivy Tech, Little’s Chocolates and a cash bar will be available.

Here’s a closer look at this year’s finalists:


Laura Carns

Laura Carns is thrilled to be a Hoosier Star finalist! This is her first time performing in the event, though she is no stranger to the stage. She has performed at many theaters across northwest Indiana, including Memorial Opera House, 4th Street Theater and Chicago Street Theater. She was most recently seen as Claire in 4th Street Theater’s “Ordinary Days,” receiving a Best Actress nomination through the Northwest Indiana Excellence in Theater Foundation for her work in that show. She also recently performed as the Baker’s Wife in “Into the Woods” and Jane in “Jane Eyre,” both at 4th Street, and Alice Sycamore in “You Can’t Take it With You” at the Memorial Opera House. By day she is a Senior Marketing Associate for Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, a piano and vocal teacher, and Mommy to her beautiful daughter, Katherine. She would like to thank her husband, parents, brothers and friends for their love and support; she wouldn’t be who she is without them.

Billy Cox

Billy Cox was born and raised in the friendly city of Hobart, IN. He started taking piano lessons at age 8, learned guitar from his dad at age 12, and hasn’t stepped off the stage since! After high school, he moved to Chicago to play guitar in a pop-punk band. He played venues like Metro and House of Blues, opening up for national acts such as Plain White T’s, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Chevelle. He also toured festivals in the Midwest such as Vans Warped Tour, Milwaukee’s Summerfest, and SXSW in Austin, TX. He even got to play live on WGN morning news. Billy currently works at Broadway Music in Merrillville, IN, as a salesman and music instructor. He continues to gig the Chicagoland area.

Tim Hester

Tim Hester lives in Wheatfield, IN, with his wife of 43 years, Rhonda. He is the father of two and the grandfather of three. Tim has served as the Lead Pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Demotte, IN. During that time he has also participated in local theater including Lazar Wolf in “Fiddler on the Roof” and Joseph in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.” He also participated in the Under The Streetlamp PBS special, “Harmonies for Healing.” He would like to thank God for the gifts entrusted to him as well as his family for all of their love and support.


Clara Hooton

Clara Hooton is a sophomore in college and is currently attending Indiana University South Bend, where she is working toward a degree in marketing. Clara has been a part of several musical theater productions. One of her favorite roles was when she played Annie in her school’s production of “Annie.” In 2018, Clara earned a scholarship during her participation in the Monday Musicale singing/instrumental competition and received the Arion award for outstanding musical achievement at her high school. Clara would like to thank all her family, friends, and sponsors who have helped make this night possible. Without the encouragement of them she would have never had the confidence to audition at all.

Joe Stewart

Joe Stewart is a native LaPortean who currently resides in Michigan City. Joe is a 2006 graduate of LPHS and studied English at Saint Joseph’s College and Seton Hall University. A 2017 Hoosier STAR finalist, Joe has also performed in the music and theater departments of LPHS and SJC, the LaPorte Little Theatre Club, Young People’s Theatre Company, Dunes Summer Theatre, Footlight Theatre, and for his friends at Rittenhouse Village. Joe currently enjoys memberships in Monday Musicale, at First United Methodist Church of Michigan City, where he leads song, and in the vocal trio Trilogy with Sue Cassler and Felicia Thomas. Joe would like to thank mentors and directors Sandi Brenda, Tom Coe, Bev Griffith, Stan Holdcraft, Lee Meyer, John Rahe, Todd Samra, Chuck Steck, and Lew Timberlake; cherished friends and family; and beloved cats Lumpy Space Princess, Marceline the Vampire Queen, and Peppermint Butler.

Roscoe Hoffman

Roscoe Hoffman (alternate) resides in Michigan City with his wife, Adele, and 3 children – Alyssa, Alicia, and Judah. As a native of South Africa, he grew up as a child singing with his family while his father would preach the good news of Jesus. This is where and when his passion for music began. He has since performed on stage with Gospel great John P. Kee, the Allman Brothers Blues Band, and the legendary Barry Manilow. Along the road of singing he learned to play 6 instruments, including the guitar, the primary instrument of his late father, Rev. Roderick Hoffman. He is the Pastor of River of Life Missionary Church in Michigan City where he has also been leading praise and worship since 2001 alongside his mother, Lorraine, and his beautiful wife of 9 years, Adele.


Jamileh Carnejo

Jamileh Cornejo is a 15-year-old who loves to sing! Her first time being on the stage was for her first-grade musical, where she played a lead role. Since then, she’s been drawn to performing. She has participated in numerous ISSMA competitions and won gold medals at each one. Jamileh is currently a part of New Prairie’s top women’s show choir, Sing Sensation. This past October, she performed “Ave Maria” and “Think of Me” abroad in Mexico. Jamileh is extremely passionate about singing and hopes to continue improving. She would like to thank her very supportive family, friends, and teachers.


Joseph Giuliani

Joseph Giulani is an eighth-grade homeschooler who lives in LaPorte. He enjoys singing as it makes him content and brings joy to others. He enjoys singing with his siblings as it strengthens their relationship and hopes to start a sibling band someday. He enjoys martial arts, mechanical engineering, reading, drawing and playing the piano. He enjoyed singing the national anthem with his sister at Fox Park for Arts in the Park and is looking forward to singing with the worship team at church. Joseph would like to thank God for his ability and desire to sing, his family for encouraging and supporting him, his voice teacher for great lessons, and Hoosier Star for this opportunity.

Rebecca Lane

Rebecca Lane is 17 years old, lives in Portage and is a senior at Chesterton High School. Rebecca has always enjoyed singing and by age 6 developed a special place in her heart for musical theater after starring as Molly in “Annie.” In high school she has performed some of her favorite roles: Maria in The “Sound of Music,” Audrey II in “Little Shop of Horrors” and a disciple in “Godspell.” At CHS Rebecca has enjoyed being a part of the Drifters and Sandpipers Show Choirs. She is at the top of her class and is a member of the National Honor Society. After high school she plans to attend college and pursue Musical Theater and Business degrees. Rebecca would like to thank her voice teacher Amanda Smolek for her guidance, her friends and family for their support and those involved with Hoosier Star for this wonderful opportunity.

Ella Moon

Ella Moon is 13 years old and lives in Crown Point. She loves singing and acting. She started off when she was just 5 playing an orphan in “Oliver.” She continued on to play other roles such as Cinderella, Ti moune, and Ariel. She loves everything about acting and singing and will do it forever and ever. She has had many incredible people to thank, including her family and friends for supporting her path of acting and singing. She would also like to thank all of her directors who have made her a better actor and singer. Especially Paul and Angie Lowe, Hannah Newman-Jacobs, Jillian Ryan, Emily Christen, and April Gerdom. Lastly, she’d like to thank Mrs. Becky and Mrs. Diane for their personal help, encouragement, and teaching her all there is to know about singing and acting.

Raul Palma

Raul Palma is currently a 16-year-old student at New Prairie High School. He started developing his voice and learning how to sing his freshman year in choir. He plays many instruments including trumpet, French horn and piano. He also loves to beatbox. Besides singing, Raul loves to play soccer, practice instruments, act and watch movies. Raul thanks God for the gift of music and for his friends and family. He also thanks his family and friends for supporting him and his choir and band directors for inspiring him. Raul’s performance is dedicated with lots of love to all of his family for encouraging him and supporting him!

Addison Stout

Addison Stout (alternate) loves to be on stage. She performed her first solo at church at age 9. Since then she has been a featured soloist in Mother’s Day musicals and weekend services at The Chapel in Fort Wayne. Addison has earned lead and supporting roles in each of her school musicals including: “Hats!” (Ima Milliner), “Compose Yourself” (Beethoven), and “Junie B. Jones Jr.” (Shirley). She has also had the honor of singing our National Anthem for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (basketball) at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. Addison has been an opening act at The CupBearer Cafe in Auburn, IN, where she performs 30-45-minute sets of contemporary Christian music. She was a two-year member of the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir and currently enjoys taking voice and piano lessons to advance her education in music. Addison is honored to be part of the Hoosier Star Performance.

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