Superstars Are Made in Alief
Kerr High School Student First Alief Idol
Before a crowd of 6,500 Alief ISD staff members seated in the Smart Financial Center, Thienan Nguyen belted out an emotional performance of The Greatest Showman’s “This is me.” As she nailed the performance, the crowd rose in a well-deserved standing ovation.
A senior at Kerr High School, the petite singer and musician is as humble as she is courageous. She started singing as a young girl with her grandmother in the church choir. Always surrounded by music at home, she learned to play the flute, saxophone, guitar, piano and ukulele.
Born in Vietnam, she started in Alief in Chancellor Elementary at the age of seven, and after a short move to Lubbock, Texas, she came back to Alief and enrolled in Albright Middle School and then finally landed at Kerr High School.
“I was so shy as a freshman and music has been a way for me to start conversations and build relationships.” That shyness was quickly overcome when her band director caught a glimpse of a cover performance that Nguyen recorded. “When I saw the video, I just couldn’t believe it! She was one of those flute players who was part of the band, comes in and does her thing; she was quiet. I approached her and told her that I was really impressed and that I would like her to audition for vocals for the Jazz Band,” says Ashley Siegrist, band director at Kerr High School.
Siegrist and Kerr High School theater teacher, Julie Ryan, worked with Nguyen to improve her stage presence and ever since, she has been honing her skills. Ready for a challenge, she entered the 2017 Alief Idol contest and took home the title. It was the first time Alief ISD had held a district-wide singing competition where students had the opportunity to win a recording demo and gift cards worth hundreds of dollars.
“What I really like about the Alief Idol contest is that anybody has a chance to enter and it’s cool to see what talent there is in the district. I really wanted to go into music as a major and I never thought that would be possible until I won the Alief Idol contest. Now my mom has come to realize that I can actually do music for a living,” says Nguyen.
Siegrist says, “I am so proud to be her teacher. She is such a wonderful person. Her talent and her character as a person is truly top notch. By winning Alief Idol, it has put Thienan on a new level.”
Nguyen hopes to land in music performance or music therapy in the future. She says, “ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted a job to help people, so therapy would be a perfect fit and to be able to integrate music to heal would be amazing.”
She is a finalist for the POSSE scholarship, which would take her to the University of Virginia – Arlington to study music performance. The scholarship targets students with extraordinary potential and would offer a full tuition scholarship. Her back up plan is to go to Sam Houston State University for music therapy. “Alief really taught me how to be humble and kind. I feel like that will shape my view on society and how I can help others,” says Nguyen.
As a senior this year, Nguyen serves as band president, theater treasurer and drum major of marching band. She’s also the lead in this year’s musical.
Her advice to students considering entering the Alief Idol contest, “don’t be afraid to go for it! At the end of the day you don’t want to look back and regret what you didn’t do. Surround yourself with good people and reach for your dreams.”
Thienan Nguyen was named the 2017 Alief Idol winner. A senior at Kerr High School, Nguyen plays the flute, saxophone, guitar, piano and ukelele. She serves as band president, theater treasurer and drum major of the marching band.
Finals at Alief Proud Day Festival
Saturday, November 10
9:00 a.m. to Noon