Celeste Betton, an Army spouse, worship leader, choir director and pre-K teacher’s assistant who has a passion for singing and a love for music, is one of six finalists in the 2014 Operation Rising Star competition in San Antonio.
Celeste, 26, won the right to compete by winning the Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield Rising Star competition, in which there were 10 other contestants.
“I’m excited,” she said as she made plans for her Nov. 29 departure for San Antonio. “It’s an opportunity to have two solid weeks of music, to see what it is like to do just music, at my leisure, and to see what it would be like to do music as a profession.”
Her husband, Staff Sgt. Kevin L. Betton Jr., a chaplain’s assistant, will be with her during the second week, when she and the other contestants perform before live audiences at the Fort Sam Houston Theatre, home of Army Entertainment.
Betton said, “I’m excited for her to just go out there and focus on her passion, what she loves to do. She can do that here, in church and everything, but there it will be all that she is there for. So she’ll have a paid vacation to do what she loves to do.”
Celeste said she was anticipating a busy schedule with “rehearsals every day, choreography, learning songs and duets, polishing up my performances. I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Is she nervous?
“I could not be honest and say that I’m not. I am a little, because you don’t know what the competition is like. And, of course, this is new to me, to do this on a performance level. We don’t really know what to expect, but we shall see.”
She said that when she first learned she was going to the finals, “It was kind of surreal. It was like, ‘Oh, Wow! I made it!’ It’s humbling to know that they heard me, they saw something in me and they said, hey, we want to put her in the showcase. So, it’s a blessing for me.”
Celeste is worship leader and a choir director at Cathedral of Praise Church Ministries in Hinesville. Kevin’s father, Bishop Kevin L. Betton Sr., is pastor. Kevin, who is on the ministerial staff of the church and choir president, is completing work on his master of divinity degree and plans to become an Army Chaplain.
He and Celeste have two daughters, Kyndal, 7, Mikayla, 7, and a son, Judah, 2.
The shows in which Celeste and the other finalists will perform will be recorded with a live audience Dec. 10 and Dec. 12. They can be viewed at www.OpRisingStar.com, on Dec. 11, beginning at 8 a.m. Viewers will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite performers after each round. The winner will be revealed Dec. 13, at www.OpRisingStar.com, where the contest rules also are posted.
The winning contestant and a guest will receive an all-expense-paid trip to record a three-song CD, plus $1,000 spending cash. The estimated value of the top prize is $18,700.
How does she feel about winning?
“You always want to at least place, but just the experience alone is one that can’t be duplicated. To be able to win would be an awesome opportunity. The genre of music that I want to do and will do is gospel. If I win, the demo CD that I do will be gospel.”
Should the Rising Star finals lead to an opportunity in the music industry, she said, “My heart is ministry, but ministry is not just within the confines of the church. The music industry could be an awesome platform to get out the gospel message we want to get out – and that is the love of Christ and what He did and that there is hope, and there is joy and there is love.”