One of Schuylkill County’s up and coming singing talents will have the opportunity to perform at the 2023 Pennsylvania Farm Show.
Mia Bixler, 6, of Schuylkill Haven, gave an impressive singing performance during a recent competition hosted by The Farm Show. Their competition included dozens of young singers from across the Commonwealth, all vying for the opportunity to perform the national anthem at the show.
After the first round of submissions, Mia was one of 20 finalists selected by a panel of judges from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
In fact, her performance of the national anthem proved popular with fans, garnering more votes than any other contestant via the farm show’s voting system.
Voting was open to the public November 10-15 via the farm show’s Facebook page, where videos of all the finalists’ performances were posted.
Fans could vote for their favorite singers by posting a reaction (like, love, etc.) under the corresponding video.
When voting ended on November 15, Mia had more than 300 reactions — more than any other finalist.
“I’m excited,” Mia said on Friday.
If selected, Mia, the only finalist from Schuylkill County, would be among about a dozen singers selected to perform in Harrisburg.
The best contestants, based on overall reactions, are selected to perform the national anthem. Eight of the winners will open each day of the farm show January 7-14 with a performance of the anthem, while the other singers will perform at various events throughout the week.
The winners will be announced the week after Thanksgiving, according to Agriculture Department spokeswoman Shannon Powers. The department is currently in the process of designating each artist for a specific day or event.
Although no formal announcement has been made yet, Mia and her mom, Mandy Bixler, are hoping she gets a chance to perform at the farm show.
“It’s been so busy and everything seems so blurry since we found out she was selected as one of the finalists,” Mandy said. “And then trying to make our friends and family and the community aware that she’s been chosen and encouraging them to vote for her.”
In her video post, Mia proudly announces her Schuylkill roots before beginning the song.
“I’m proud to be from Schuylkill County in the great state of Pennsylvania,” she said in the video.
At the age of 6, Mia already has plenty of singing experience under her belt. She is a member of the youth performance group Spotlight Kidz and trains under their leader Sandy Kost-Starter.
With Spotlight Kidz, Mia performed to large audiences, including performing the national anthem at a Philadelphia Phillies game in August.
She was also part of a Spotlight Kidz group that opened for Foreigner at a concert in Bethlehem on November 12. In December, the group will open for The Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.
Mia, a first-grader at Blue Mountain Elementary West, has been singing for as long as she can remember.
“She’s always liked learning through songs, whether it was about colors or numbers or other things,” Mandy said.
Mia credits her classes at Kost-Starr, along with her appearances on Spotlight Kidz, as an integral part of her preparation for the farm show competition.
Mandy said the family were surprised to learn Mia had been selected as a finalist.
“It was exciting to hear that she was chosen from many other entries,” Mandy said.
The competition marked the first time the family had entered a social media-based competition. Although waiting for the results was “nerve-wracking” at times, Mandy said she was grateful for the experience and all the positive feedback they received.
“We really appreciate all the support we’ve had from friends and family and the community, and Mia feels very comfortable knowing that people have supported her throughout this process,” Mandy said.