WAUWATOSA –– Grace Weber, a New York University senior and 2006 graduate of Pius XI High School, Milwaukee, is one of the eight semifinalists to compete live in Chicago at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5, for the first round of Oprah’s Karaoke Challenge where viewers’ votes will decide the top three contestants who will progress to the next round.
“I’ve actually gotten a lot of e-mails and messages and stuff from a lot of people from my high school and my community and everything just being really supportive, so it’s been a very cool experience getting those messages and phone calls and stuff,” Grace, 21, said in a phone interview with your Catholic Herald.
For Grace, whose family belongs to St. Jude Parish, Wauwatosa, and who is a graduate of the parish grade school, music has been a part of her life since a young age. Of Patti and Ralph Weber’s four children, Grace’s musical interest is unique. She sang in the St. Jude Children’s Choir as a student; she participated in the Milwaukee Children’s Choir from about age 9 to 12 and in the Inner City Youth Gospel Choir from about age 12 to 14; and she continued to sing in choirs during her high school years, according to Patti.
“At Pius, they have a wonderful music program and beautiful choirs and a jazz choir and she was in all of that,” Patti said. “…That was a great thing for her to experience in high school.”
To WISN-Channel 12 at 4 p.m. on Nov. 5, to watch Grace as she performs against seven other contestants in the first round of Oprah’s Karaoke Challenge.
View Grace’s audition submission of Aretha Franklin’s “You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman)” that she recorded in her New York apartment.
Patti was shocked to learn that her second youngest, who sung at the St. Jude Christmas midnight Mass last year, was one of the finalists.
“Shocked, but then on the other hand, I guess not because she has done a lot of unusual things in her life so I – she’s just one lucky kid, I guess,” Patti said of Grace who has two CDs and whose performances include singing in places like Harlem, N.Y. on “Showtime at the Apollo.”
Grace, a student the Gallatin School of New York University, where she designed her major – music, business, art and vocal performance and wants to be a singer-songwriter, is excited to meet Oprah, the other contestants and the producers. Patti, along with Grace’s sisters, Claire, 26, and Greta, 16, will use the three tickets Grace was given for the show, but her father and brother, Erik, 16, will be in town to go out to dinner and spend time as a family.
“I’m really excited that my family is being so supportive and all of my friends are being so supportive and it’s also great that it’s in Chicago because I feel really close to the Midwest,” Grace said. “And it makes me feel at home, kind of, because I go to school at New York University, so this has been kind of like a vacation – a vacation home for me – so that, too, is definitely, too, a fun part of this.”