Gold guitar glory for Caleb

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On song . . . Taieri College pupil Caleb Croy, of Mosgiel, won the New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards junior overall champion title in Gore on Queen's Birthday Weekend. The 12-year-old performs the song There's A Hero by Billy Gilman on a piano in a rehearsal room at his school. PHOTO: NIC DUFF

A Mosgiel boy has been crowned the junior champion of country music.

Taieri College pupil Caleb Croy competed in the New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards in Gore over Queen’s Birthday Weekend and came away with an immense haul of prizes.

His rendition of There’s a Hero by Billy Gillman, backed by a full band, earned him two titles – overall junior champion and junior vocal solo – as well as the Tamworth encouragement trophy.

He also made the finals in the gospel section.

It was the second time he had entered the event, making the finals in the solo category last year.

He was “stunned, happy and shocked” to be named the overall junior champion this year.

Caleb did not let the pressure of performing in front of nearly 1000 people affect him.

A dry mouth and the “butterflies in his stomach” were shortlived, he said.

“I was nervous and I had to control them.”

“I try to think [the audience] isn’t there to judge you, they’re there to listen to music and I just try to have fun . . . Once I start singing, I just love it.”

Caleb has been taking singing lessons from private tutor Bridget Telfer, of Fairfield, for the past two and a-half years and has been learning to play the piano for the past six months.

He won a $500 acoustic guitar, which he has started to learn how to play.

His other prizes included a $300 microphone, honorary membership to the Gore Country Music Club and $500 cash.

He beat nearly 100 other young people in the overall junior section, for children aged under 13.

His future goals include performing in the intermediate section of the event next year and to perform again at the Country Music Dunedin Awards in Mosgiel.

“I’m just taking it as it goes.”