A star is born: Forbes' Lexi Herden shines in Overture

The Central West met a new rising star on Saturday night.

Forbes' very own Lexi Herden, just 12 years of age, danced onto the stage wreathed in smiles, to perform "When I grow up" with the backing of a full orchestra and more than 100 voice choir at Overture in Parkes.

"I was really excited, it was an incredible night," Lexi said of her opportunity to sing the piece from Matilda the Musical in front of some 900 people at the Cooke Park Pavilion.

It's some months now since Lexi, a student at Parkes Christian School, found out she was successful in her video audition and the youngest of just four central west performers chosen to take the stage alongside stars Josh Piterman and Lucy Durack and a host of other performers.

Overture - which has involved free workshops, community choirs from Parkes, Cowra and Orange, children's choir and children's orchestra - was always designed to inspire our region's youth to aspire to excellence in the performing arts.

It's done just that for Lexi, who says she'll now keep seeking out opportunities as she dreams of getting into musical theatre as a professional - when she grows up herself of course.

Josh Piterman, Phantom in the opera to take the stage later this year, was glowing in his praise of Lexi, telling the Parkes Champion Post it was a moment he won't forget.

"The moment I will remember most from the night, was being side stage when Lexi (Herden) sang 'When I Grow Up," he said.

"She was so invested in her performance and is such a sweet girl - it was really something else."

Jess echoed those thoughts, and agreed it was one of the highlights of the entire show.

"Lexi is just really humble. We listened to this hauntingly beautiful audition, but what we didn't anticipate was she had went away, had two lessons and was just happy, engaging and comfortable on stage," she said.

"Lucy and Josh's managers were backstage, and they were blown away as well, and told us as such."

Lexi had the chance to workshop a song with Piterman, one of the opportunities that came her way as part of Overture.

"It was really good and really helpful," Lexi said.

While mum Tracey has always noticed Lexi's beautiful voice as she sings around the place, those who saw her confident performance on Saturday night might be surprised she only started taking singing "more seriously" last year.

She was part of her school production of The Little Mermaid last year, but Overture really was an incredible opportunity for this young vocalist - one that she is very thankful to coordinators Jess Westcott and Harriet Snaith for.

Lexi was able to work with Jess Westcott - again over zoom - to prepare her song for the show.

She had one practice with the choir two weeks ago, and one with the full orchestra the night before.

"When I got called backstage I started to feel nerves, but not before I went on stage," Lexi said.

Lexi, we can attest that you wowed the crowd and we are sure we'll hear your name again in future!