Ashburn’s Got Talent 2019 Winners!

Pictured L-R: Joanna Kim (2nd place), Ethan Clark (1st place), Caryn Switaj (Songwriter’s Award) and Host Brandon Diaz! (photos by Ally Ratigan)

Pictured L-R: Joanna Kim (2nd place), Ethan Clark (1st place), Caryn Switaj (Songwriter’s Award) and Host Brandon Diaz! (photos by Ally Ratigan)

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Pictures from the 2019 AGT Finals

photos courtesy of Ally Ratigan and Loudoun County Magazine

2019 Ashburn's Got Talent Finalists!

Pictures from the Semi-Finals!


Faiza Alam is a Co-founder and guitar instructor for Create More Music Studios.  She has a Bachelor's of Music Degree with a Concentration in Guitar Performance and a Master’s of Business Administration from George Mason.  Faiza has been teaching guitar, group music lessons, and band coaching for over 9 years.  She has worked with students of all ages and specializes in young child development.  Faiza enjoys teaching and performing classical music, folk, rock and pop. Faiza began playing guitar at the age of eleven.  She studied classical guitar under Hart Wells and Larry Snitzler, student of Andres Segovia. She has learned from world renowned guitarists such as Roland Dyens, Eleftheria Kotzia and Piotr Zeilinski.  Upon receiving her B.M., she taught for numerous teaching schools and performed throughout the NOVA area.  In 2015 she launched Create More Music Studios, an in-home teaching studio that offers instrumental and vocal lessons in the area.  Faiza is passionate about music education and supporting local artists.  Not only does she enjoy helping students excel in their musical crafts but she also enjoys helping local musicians in developing their careers as artists and teachers. 

Ron Goad is a 7-time Wammie winner of Most Supportive of Washington Music. Ron appears on over 60 albums, including winners of Wammies and other awards, and he is acknowledged on 10 others as co-writer, producer, and arranger. He performs with The Harried Americans, Gina DeSimone & the Moaners, The All-New Genetically Altered Jug Band, The Human Wilderness String Band, The Riverside Carnival Band, Blue Panamuse, The New Sunshine Skiffle Band, Nightmusic, and others. He is a Board Member of The Songwriters' Association of Washington (hosts of the annual Mid-Atlantic Song Contest), a Board Member of The Folk Club of Reston-Herndon, a former Board Member of Frederick Acoustic Music Enterprise, former Vice President of Focus Music, and has served as BMI's Grassroots Initiative Consultant. Ron currently produces shows in Reston and Frederick.

Leslie Hollander is a classically trained professional actress who has performed on and off Broadway, regionally, and for years at the Kennedy Center. She has been a talent scout and has trained talent for local casting agencies and is a private coach.

Alex Minton, co-owner and teacher of Mintons Academy of Music, has been working in the music industry in Northern Virginia for over a decade. His love of music has spread vicariously through his former bands Traktion, Less Than We Know, The Next Big Thing, and more. Today, he shares his vast instrumental knowledge with the children of Ashburn who attend his family owned music school, teaching guitar, bass, percussion, vocals, piano, brass, woodwinds and more; practicing his crafts and perfecting his musical art daily.

Bobbe Shore majored in vocal performance/education at The College of New Jersey and has studied privately with respected NY vocal coach Robert Edwin. Early career credits began in musical theatre including ("Carousel"/Julie Jordan), "Gigi"/Gigi, "Promises Promises"/Fran Kubelik, and a touring troupe of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"/Columbia. Bobbe penned her first song as a teenager and has continued composing throughout her musical career, writing both lyrics and music.  As a result, she has performed her original music as an invited guest of the New Jersey State Special Olympics and the Department of HHS, Office of Disability. She has performed solo bookings with guitar/piano, and has been the featured vocalist with many groups performing in Variety Bands, an Oldies Band, and Swing Bands. In 2005 she formed her own group, "Bobbe Shore and First Call", performing The Great American Songbook.  They have performed at the top Jazz Clubs in the Metro area including Blues Alley, The Carlyle Club, and Bohemian Caverns and they've held steady bookings at the Ritz Lobby Lounge and the former Market Street Bar & Grill (Hyatt/Reston). Bobbe also works with private event clients.Bobbe enjoys coaching students who strive to be better performers.  She was a 2009 WAMMIE (Washington Area Music Association) Nominee for Best Jazz Vocal.

Tina Smothers is the Vocal and Theater Director at Studio Bleu Dance Center in Ashburn VA. She has created the vocal and theater program at the studio which is thriving. Studio Bleu is the home of the D.C. Metro areas premier audition only children's performance groups. They can be seen performing in NYC, around the community and at places like Hershey Park. She also teaches privately and have had students on Broadway tours, professional vocalist, make it on national television shows and tour with some of the biggest stars of today like Florida. She is excited to be judging for this years event.

2019 Host for the Semi-Finals

Elaine Espinola Keltz is Speaker, Spokesperson, TV Show Host and Mrs. DC America 2015. The show 'I'm Every Woman' on Comcast Cable is an extension of her platform: Empowering Women through Entrepreneurship and Elaine continues to promote and support women through many ventures, including her mission to raise awareness in the Fight Against Human Trafficking.  Elaine is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and local Loudoun County resident. In 2015, she was awarded '40 Under 40' by Leesburg Today and "People on the Move" by the Washington Business Journal. Elaine Hosts and Emcees event throughout the DMV and is the media spokesperson for Lerner Enterprises. Elaine is the Founder and Executive Director of Media SavvE, which offers consulting and services to increase brand visibility to small businesses through digital advertising. Media SavvE is the media partner for Viva Tysons, the Luxury Lifestyle Magazine. Elaine is an active community member and you can find her enjoying everything wonderful that Loudoun County has to offer with her family. (Including Blend!)  http://www.mediasavve.net

2019 Host for the Finals

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Brandon Diaz from Ashburn, VA is a musician and soon to be a resident of Los Angeles, CA. Brandon (22) shot to fame last year as a top contestant on American Idol, performing with stars such as Lionel Richie, Luis Fonsi and others. Brandon started singing at age 8 and decided to pursue music after he performed in front of 30,000 people at a Washington Capitals game when he was 14. 

After graduating from Briar Woods High School, Brandon enrolled in Berklee College of Music in Boston. In Boston he formed Brandon Diaz ‘N Soul with 5 fellow students. It was here that he was given the opportunity to audition for the reboot of “American Idol” on ABC.

On November 15th, 2018 Brandon released his debut single, “Groovin.” It is an upbeat tune that will make you want to dance! 

We are excited that Brandon will be AGT’s host for the Finals evening, and even entertain us with a performance or two!

Finals Special Guest Kaitlyn Maher

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Kaitlyn Maher,
 based in Ashburn VA has been singing for as long as she can remember. When she was only four years old, she shared her infectious personality and clean, innocent voice with the nation as she became the youngest ever Top 10 Finalist on NBC’s hit show, America’s Got Talent. Since then she has captured hearts through her internationally televised performances at the White House, regular movie and TV appearances, various international singing tours from Asia to Africa, and philanthropic endeavors around the world

Following the release of her debut CD when she was only 5 years old, Kaitlyn has continued to entertain audiences through her singing and staring in six Disney movies. She has starred in numerous TV shows including Fox TV's The Goodwin Games, appeared in People magazine, and was a featured performer on Entertainment Tonight, the Today Show, and numerous networks across the nation. Most recently, she has been the voice behind the beloved main character Tiny in the Air Bud Pup Star family of movies on Netflix.

Kaitlyn has been most excited about leveraging these incredible opportunities to make a positive impact in the lives of those around her. She is honored to serve as the first-ever Child Ambassador for Compassion International -- a global aid organization focused on feeding, clothing, and educating children around the world. She has found immense joy in traveling to El Salvador, Honduras, and Africa to aid children living in poverty. She has also been a headline performer at numerous charity events across the country, using her voice to passionately advocate for worthy causes.

Kaitlyn is thrilled to be able to share her experience in her hometown as a guest performer at Ashburn’s Got Talent!