Carter Kroeger competes in showcase to benefit the National Kidney Foundation

Fifth-grader Carter Kroeger will share his musical talents to benefit others as he competes in the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona Talent Slam! on Jan. 6, 2018 at Phoenix Theater.

Hosted by the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona, the new charity event showcases Arizona’s talented youth performing to make a difference in the lives of children with kidney disease, according to a press release.

Carter Kroeger

The purpose of raising funds is said to reinstate the kidney youth summer camp program. Certain children affected by kidney disease attend an overnight camp in Northern Arizona “equipped to meet their special medical needs.”

Carter is among Valley performers, ages 8-18, displaying their talent ranging from singing to dancing, and any impressive feat to win an invite to Viacom’s headquarters.

“I’m just so excited to have the chance to perform. I am happiest when I get to perform because I get to share my music with other people. When I sing I am completely in the moment and I feel the music with everything inside of me,” said 11-year-old Carter via email.

“I am impressed by the other children performing and some of them are a lot older than me. I am the only male solo in the competition, so I have a unique chance to show my voice in a different way.”

The Phoenix Country Day School student is a vocalist, guitarist, drummer and songwriter. He wants to be a lead singer for a band, performing and traveling and “hopefully having a lot of fans,” he said.

In August, he wowed judges at his audition in Phoenix.

“I walked in and there was a panel of judges, so I was nervous at first. I had a song ready that I had practiced and a guitarist playing background music, but at the end of that song they asked me if I had anything else,” Carter recalled.

“I jumped on the chance to get one more song in and I performed a song without any background music that I hadn’t planned on performing. It was great because I just did the song my own way and completely from my heart. During that song one of the judges dropped his clipboard so I knew I had impressed them!”

He noted how happy he was to get a call that he passed his audition and was selected to perform in the competition.

“My classmates have been very supportive and a lot of them have donated to the cause and, so they get to come and watch me perform,” Carter said.

“I am so happy that they get to see what I do and be a part of it! I also have a lot of teachers who are interested in coming to watch me perform which is very exciting too.”

“It is great that Carter has extended himself to helping others through his music. Through this endeavor, Carter is not only raising money and awareness, but he is helping others through his music, bringing joy and happiness,” said Chris Eriksen, Carter’s fifth-grade coordinator and an English teacher via email.

“Carter Kroeger is a very talented musician with a very big heart. He is the perfect choice for this work,” said Head of Lower School Jaki Ivins in an emailed statement.

“Carter is an outstanding young man. I am excited to hear he has been selected to perform in the Talent Slam,” exclaimed Ben Sullivan in an email. “I am confident that he will rise to the occasion and have a wonderful performance.”

As of mid-November, Carter raised about $1,700 for the kidney foundation and needs nearly $300 to reach his goal.

“I support Carter in his love of music by being dedicated to surrounding him with the best professionals to improve his talent. I am also a part of helping him raise his goal of $2,000 in donations to the National Kidney Foundation, so I help him get the word out to the community that he is performing for this incredible cause,” said Carter’s mom, Emily, via email.

“We are hoping to get the word out, so many more people will have the chance to join us and to contribute in donations.”

His mother is proud of his innate ability to engage audiences, including their family, since he was a toddler in his car seat singing the whole song, “Hey Soul Sister,” by the band Train. She said the family always laughs and has fun.

“We have a big family and whether it is sitting together at night and watching Carter do one of his many mini-concerts in our family room, or taking a trip to ski in Colorado, we always make the best of our time together.

We appreciate our time together and I have taught my children to never take one moment for granted,” said the mother of four.

Describing Carter as an incredible musician in the family, she said he always brightens their day with his voice.

“He feels music in a different way than I have ever seen. He is able to truly be engaged in a song so that others around him feel the music, too. I am so grateful when other people watch him perform and tell me he is a true talent,” the mom said.

“But more than anything, I feel strongly that Carter has a gift that he needs to share with the world. Music is a very powerful thing and can turn someone’s day around in times of difficulty; and I have raised Carter to be aware that talent and gifts are things to be shared with the world.”

While it would be nice to win the competition, Carter’s mother said she instills in him the importance of performing music as an opportunity to share his musical gifts to improve the world.

“Whether it is performing in order to raise money for a worthy cause – or touching someone in the audience through music and taking them away from the difficulties of daily life – to a place of complete happiness. Even if it is just for a moment people connect with music, and it can make the world a better place,” she said.

Since Carter’s 14-year-old cousin, Brooke Besik, was recently diagnosed with stage-four lymphoma, which can possibly affect her kidneys, the competition means even more to Carter.

“This performance could not have come at a better time because Carter is even more inspired to raise funds for the National Kidney Foundation. It is in these moments that as a parent and an aunt to my wonderful niece everything comes full circle,” she added. “Life is so precious and ethereal, and when we use our gifts to help others, we are truly connected as humans.”

She encourages more people to visit crowdrise.com/carter-kroeger to help Carter meet or surpass his fundraising goal.

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