Review: McCree Theatre vocal contest highlights local talent even in the pandemic

By Patsy Isenberg

Through the magic of technology The New McCree Theatre continues, despite the chaos the world is experiencing, to inspire local talent and offer entertainment to the public.

Not in shows–yet. But two talented singers won McCree’s recent singing competition by submitting videos of themselves to McCree’s “First Annual Online Vocal Contest” via McCree’s Facebook page.

There was an adult category and a youth category. Each first place winner received a prize of $1000. Daysha Harris, 23, is the adult winner, and Isaiah Grays, 14, is the youth winner.

Brelia Renee, 22, got second place in the adult category, and Ashlei Wells, 19, came in third. In the youth division Olivia Dellorso, 16, received second place honors and 9-year old Micaicah Thomas came in third. The winners were decided through a combination of judges’ scores and “likes” on Facebook. Winners were all announced in a press release on July 2. Congratulations to all of them!

Daysha lives in Flint and attended Northwestern High School. She hasn’t been in any of McCree’s productions yet but does aspire to be a professional singer. Right now she mostly stays home with her two kids, attends church activities, and keeps singing and dancing as much as possible. Some of her favorite artists are Whitney Houston, Le’Andria Johnson, and Fantasia. 

Daysha chose to sing Queen Latifah’s “I Know Where I’ve Been” for the competition because “of the times we are in right now with the black lives matter” issues. She says she wanted to express “how we as African Americans … what we’ve been going through.” Daysha’s so excited to have won the competition and feels it’s gratifying that “so many people who love my voice and believe I can make it.”

Youth winner, Isaiah, lives in Grand Blanc and has already been in a McCree production. He played the part of Stick in Charles Winfrey’s play, “The Saints of St. John Street’ in February. He’ll be attending Grand Blanc High School in the fall. Isaiah’s favorite artists are Tasha Cobbs, John Legend, Todd Dulaney, Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Jennifer Hudson. He chose Legend’s “All of Me” for the competition because he said he remembered loving it so much when he first heard it.

Of his daily life Isaiah says, “When I leave the house it’s very weird, now I have on a mask. Usually before the pandemic, if I saw someone with a mask I assumed they were sick and didn’t want to spread anything.” Other than that Isaiah said not much has changed this summer. He’s doing online classes and Zoom meetings that he finds interesting.

Isaiah doesn’t aspire to be a professional singer.  Instead he wants to be a federal politician. He says, “My goal is to become the President of the United States. Truly I believe if I hold that office. I can work with congress to ensure the American people we can be united.”

The winners are impressive young people from Genesee County and it was a wonderful opportunity for them. But hopefully next year’s vocal contest can be performed in front of a live audience.

Kudos to The New McCree Theatre for making it possible to reward young talented singers in the area and give them the exposure they deserve even in the age of the coronavirus.

Banner image courtesy of GeneseeFun.

EVM Staff Writer and reviewer Patsy Isenberg can be reached at

Author: East Village Magazine

A Non-profit, Community News Magazine Since 1976

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