Young star wins again

By ILONA HANNE

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Move over LeAnn Rimes and Taylor Swift, there's a new country music star in town!

Elizabeth Maindonald may only be six years old, but she is already getting attention for her vocal talent.

Last month, the blonde haired, blue eyed, angelic faced youngster won the under-seven age group section of the Muddy River Country Music Awards held in Whanganui for the second year in a row.

"I was hoping I would win," she says, admitting to not having been too keen on returning her trophy from the previous year.

"I'm glad I got to bring it home again for another year."

The opening lines of her song of choice this year, Cotton Fields, talk about being a 'little bitty baby'. While she isn't quite a baby, she certainly isn't that old either, but has already made guest appearances - she opened the Lower Hutt Country Music Awards in front of 300 people when she was just three.

"She sang Country Roads and I had to hold the microphone for her as she was so little," her father Lindsay says.

Elizabeth is a natural performer, her parents say.

"She's like her mother, doesn't rehearse half as much as most of us do, but when she gets on that stage, she pulls it off, it is amazing to see," says Lindsay.

He and Anita, Elizabeth's mother, met through music, when they both attended Parachute, a Christian music festival some years ago.

"I credit my wife Anita with the fact I got back into music," says Lindsay, who explains he asked her to go with him to a country music night soon after they first met.

"She came along and enjoyed it, and encouraged me to start getting back into music.

"Now we both sing and perform at all sorts of country music events. It is great to have our daughter joining in as well."

Elizabeth's performance at the Muddy River awards this year was a true family affair, with Lindsay spending hours rehearsing with Elizabeth and Anita designing and creating Elizabeth's intricate costume for the event.

"I had an idea in my mind of what the costume should look like, as soon as she chose her song," says Anita, who made the blouse herself, teaming it with accessories that managed to match both the song and Elizabeth's young age.

Elizabeth herself loves the special horse shaped buckle on her pink belt.

"I like pink and I like horsies and the belt matches my hat."

To hear Elizabeth's fantastic voice, see the video of her performing an acoustic version of Cotton Fields on our Stratford Press Facebook page.

- Stratford Press

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