By: Stacy Keith
Since its inception, Lubbock, Texas has been a premier destination for the arts. Some say it is the wide-open spaces and beautiful sunsets that continue to inspire creativity, others say it is the arts community itself which nurtures and grows individuals to share their talent. As the birthplace of Buddy Holly, the rock ‘n roll legend whose legacy still impacts music today, the West Texas magic continues to draw artists through the low cost of living, artist friendly lifestyle and great higher education institutions with strong fine arts programs. From musicians to ballerinas, you won’t want to miss these 806 up-and-coming LBK artists!
Some artists seem to be born, not made, and Nariah Eddington is one. Nariah is a 16-year-old dancing diva who calls Lubbock home. Since she was six years old, Nariah has been sashaying through life. Throughout her dancing career, she has trained with the West Texas Dancing Raiderettes (WTDR). For more information on the company, visit their website. She loves the sharp movement and expressive style of hip hop and says it allows her to express herself. She also enjoys contemporary dance!
In February of this year, Nariah auditioned for the famed Joffrey Ballet School summer intensive program and was selected for this incredible honor! She will spend three weeks this summer in Dallas with world class instruction in ballet and technique. Nariah also auditioned for the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, based in Los Angeles, California, and was also chosen for this program. Though virtual this year, Nariah will attend and learn from one of the most well-known and respected dancers and choreographers in America! Nariah said after the auditions and selection to both programs, she is more inspired to dance professionally and sees herself travelling to bigger stages.
Nariah has a close relationship with her family, especially her mom who has been an enormous support as she has become more involved with WTDR. Her older brother is her cheerleader and keeps the energy up during WTDR performances or competitions like the American Dance National Championship where WTDR placed as the second runner up in Contemporary and Jazz ad first runner up in Hip Hop.
Not one to rest, Nariah has also started pointe classes, looking ahead and excited to learn the art of ballet as she sets her sites on the world of professional dance!
Caldwell Entertainment has long been a respected name in both the Lubbock music community and on a statewide level, bringing together the art of music and locals for almost 50 years. A successful label, Caldwell encourages and empowers young Lubbock musicians, like the trio Blackwater Draw.
Blackwater Draw has a reputation that certainly precedes them. Made up of incredible vocal and instrumental talent, the group consists of Berklee Timmons alongside siblings Garrett and Tiffany Nelson. The three have been involved in music for most of their lives and their talents have been nurtured by the love and leadership of Cami Caldwell with Caldwell Kids Entertainment and Ross Raedeke who is the ensemble’s instrument teacher and bassist.
I first heard Blackwater Draw in the 4th on Broadway television special in July 2020. Due to COVID-19, the festival was televised, offering viewers the opportunity to experience the enormous talent of Lubbock, Texas. When a trio of three teenagers appeared on the screen to perform, their extraordinary vocal talent was astounding.
The three mesh together because they are not just a performing group, they’re a family. Berklee and Tiffany have performed together since they were five years old and Garrett, after being encouraged by his teachers at Southcrest Christian School, began singing with them. Cami Caldwell discovered Garrett has a rare gift – perfect pitch – which only 1 in 10,000 people possess. With the addition of his voice, the duo soon became the trio of Blackwater Draw.
With both original songs and covers, the group boasts a diverse lineup for all to enjoy. Berklee, who is the lead writer of the group, has been writing as long as she can remember. What started out as silly songs when she was little has turned into more developed pieces today.
Practicing as a group, the trio spends many hours together and their talent and love of music is evident! At Southcrest, the faculty and staff have invested in the young artists with granting additional practice time for them into their school day. They are also in the school band – Berklee and Garrett play percussion and Tiffany plays saxophone. The support through the school and Caldwell Kids Entertainment has allowed them to flourish into a high-quality performance trio.
What fascinated me most as we discussed their music and backgrounds was the casual ease they have with one another, and the humble and polite way they engaged in the conversation. There is not doubt they are down to earth kids who boast extraordinary talent.
They have something known in Blue Grass as “blood harmony”, the uncanny ability to have a natural merge to their voices. Garrett and Tiffany have sung with Berklee for many years, making her an easy fit with their voices. Not only do they sing, but they are also all talented musicians as well, playing violin, guitar and mandolin.
Though they spend countless hours in rehearsals and practices, they also, like all teenagers, have other hobbies too. Garrett runs track, plays golf and video games and spends time with his friends. Tiffany bikes and also runs track. Finally, Berklee plays volleyball and basketball, and loves helping with the foster children in her family’s care. Their families are supportive, taking them to rehearsals and shows. In fact, as we were visiting, Garrett and Tiffany’s dad Eric Nelson arrived with Sonic drinks for them!
It is a lovely statement of what nurture and talent can bring to lives who seek to do what they seemingly were born to do. The trio will perform at High Noon at the County Courthouse in downtown Lubbock on August 4, as well as at their first big festival, White Sands Balloon and Music Festival in Alamogordo, NM on September 11 at noon. Watch for them around Lubbock as you’re out and about. More information about Caldwell Kids can be found at their website www.caldwellkids.com and you can follow Blackwater Draw on Facebook!
If there’s any doubt that art plays a positive role on young lives and is good for the soul, these amazing Lubbock teens shatter that. Nariah, Garrett, Berklee and Tiffany are four talented young people blessing the “Hub City” and those around them with their gifts and talents. Be sure to keep an eye out for these emerging artists!
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