Viviana Camacho sang alto 200-member women’s choir and the even-larger mixed choir at a public concert in Stockton.

Taft Union High School senior Viviana Camacho sang alto in the women’s choir of the Central California honor choir Nov. 15-17 in Stockton.

When she found out she had qualified for the regional honor choir, “I had to sit down. I was crying when I told my mom because I was so excited.”

Five Taft students auditioned for the regional state honor choir and she was the only one who made it. She had to learn an Italian aria, sight-sing, display her vocal range, and pass a listening test in order to qualify for the prestigious event, explained choir director Amanda Locke. After two days of rehearsal, the 200-member women’s choir and the even-larger mixed choir performed a public concert on the third day in Stockton.

“It was a great experience. (Including rehearsals) we sang for 20 hours. I learned how to open my vocal tone and how to stretch my breath. It was the first time I was out of town on my own. I got to know Mrs. Locke better. I made a bunch of new friends.”

Viviana has been winning singing competitions since she was a tween and sings with what some have described an “old soul” befitting her love of old country and Hispanic songs.

When she was 11 or 12, Viviana won a signing competition at La Movida nightclub in Bakersfield. She ended up getting paid $40 a night to sing a few songs on weekends for almost a year. Then Buck Owens discovered her, she said. “He sent me to learn to play guitar.” But before that opportunity advanced very far, “Buck Owens passed away (in 2006).”

Her next break came when an Avon saleslady listened to her sing, at her aunt’s prodding. “I made her cry and she told me, ‘You have an old soul.’

“I like music that means something. I love Patsy Cline and old country music and really old Hispanic music.” The Avon saleslady told Viviana that she will set her up with her sister who is in the recording business in LA.

Viviana plans to attend Taft College and then transfer to a four-year college, all the while pursuing her singing career as far as it will take her.