Madison VanDenburg and Moriah Formica reflect on North Colonie music careers, look forward to show this month
When Madison VanDenburg met Moriah Formica years ago, neither one had any idea what would be in store for them. Madison, a junior at Shaker High School, and Moriah, a class of 2018 alumna, have gained national attention for their performances on American Idol and The Voice, respectively. Now, the pair is teaming up with Queensbury native Delaney Silvernell for a concert at the Times Union Center later this month. Despite all the attention and work that the pair have put in the past couple of years, this collaboration has been years in the making.
Moriah has loved music since she was a baby. “My mom put baby headphones on me to get me to sleep,” said Formica. “I would listen to music for hours – even as a baby.”
When Moriah was six years old, she was listening to Aerosmith and began learning how to play the guitar. This deepened Moriah’s connection to music. “Playing the guitar felt so natural. It made me fall in love with music even more.” When Moriah was in 5th grade, she learned Eye of the Tiger, which was her first performance in the Latham Ridge chorus. Not only was it her first chorus performance, it was her first time playing the guitar publicly. This helped Moriah gain confidence. She again played the guitar in 6th grade, but started to explore a new avenue, singing.
“I sang I am Beautiful by Christina Aguilera at my 6th grade graduation,” said Formica. “That is when I threw myself into singing more. Being able to perform in front of my peers was a defining moment for me.”
“When Moriah was making music, there was no hesitancy – she came alive,” said retired Latham Ridge music teacher Camille Wing. “Moriah is an outstanding musician with an amazing drive and talent.”
Madison began piano and guitar lessons when she was six years old. At age 10, she sang karaoke at a booth at a local fair and she was hooked. “The crowd loved what I was doing and I fell in love with performing,” said VanDenburg.
When Madison was in 6th grade, she received a role in the school play, Annie, where she had to perform a solo. This further strengthened Madison’s confidence and confirmed her love of performing on stage. Madison continued performing as a student, in the junior high and high school select choir and select band until her sophomore year. She would frequently come to school early to strengthen her knowledge of the music she was performing. “Mrs. Kimbler was one of the first people to push me. She would always come in early to help me. We still keep in touch and talk about my performances.”
“Madison has always been very hard working and determined, said SHS music teacher Amy Kimbler. “I knew she had an abundance of musical talent when she was young and has always been genuine, modest and kind. I’m so proud of all of her successes.”
Madison and Moriah credit their experiences on national television for making them better performers. “The Voice allowed me to establish a steady career that continues to grow,” said Formica. “I left with a lot of knowledge about how to be a performer and I learned a lot about myself as a person.”
“American Idol helped me improve vocally in so many ways,” said VanDenburg. “I experienced such growth because I was constantly singing and performing. I’m much more comfortable knowing what to do on stage.”
Madison and Moriah have dreamed of performing together for years. Madison and Moriah attended each other’s shows in the area, and Madison opened for Moriah at a number of her shows. Now, they are both able to see their dreams come true and perform at the Times Union Center.
“We’ve always wanted to perform a duet and work together,” said VanDenburg. “I’m grateful that we get to experience this together.”
“It feels amazing,” said Formica. “Growing up as young musicians, the Times Union Center is the biggest venue in the 518 [area]. It’s amazing to play there and to be able to do this with my best friend makes it even better.”
Madison and Moriah’s show is taking place Friday, June 28. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. View ticket information.