Jordan Mattmiller plays open mikes in La Crosse, but on Sept. 14 his audience was significantly larger.

Mattmiller and Stevie Peterson brought a Tomah presence to the Overture Center in Madison when they performed for over 2,000 people during the Overture Rising Stars talent competition. Mattmiller and Peterson were among 21 musicians chosen from auditions held in La Crosse, Madison, Oshkosh and Wausau. Performers who stood out at the regional auditions were called back for follow-up auditions in Madison.

“For me, it was crazy,” said Mattmiller, son of Dawn and Chris Van Alstine and Chris Mattmiller. “It was the biggest audience I’ve ever performed for.”

Peterson, a senior at Tomah High School and the daughter of Gaye and Dean Peterson, won the teen division after singing The Girl in 14G. The song was written in 2001 for Kristin Chenoweth but has more of a 1930s sound, and Peterson likes the song’s theme.

“I like to find new and challenging pieces that are hard for me,” she said.

Peterson was impressed by the Overture Center, a majestic performance hall that originally opened as the Capitol Theatre in 1928.

“It’s probably the biggest theater I’ve ever performed in,” she said. “Everything was spot-on, and everybody was so nice and supportive.”

Mattmiller, a 2017 graduate of Tomah High School, chose Main Street Drive-In, a 2013 song performed by The Moxies.

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“It’s a cute story,” Mattmiller said of the song. “I had three other songs lined up that my voice coach helped me pick out, but I heard Main Street Drive-In that week, and I was like, ‘I would much rather do that song.’ I was glad that I changed it. It really shows off my range.”

He was gratified by how the audience responded to his performance.

“When you get random strangers telling you that you did something well, it feels really good,” he said.

It’s possible either Mattmiller or Peterson could return to the Overture Center for a future show. Mattmiller said after the show, someone shouted at him, ‘You’re on the call list.’”

Mattmiller and Peterson both intend for music to be a major part of their lives. Mattmiller, a has gained valuable experience performing open mikes in La Crosse, where he said audiences appreciate local musicians.

“It would be cool to expand and be in a band and write music,” he said. “It would be cool to make people feel the same way I feel when I listen to music.”

Peterson plans to attend Julliard or Berkeley College of Music after graduation. She has her ambitions set squarely on New York City.

“The end goal is Broadway,” she said. “Go big or go home.”

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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