Tag Archives: Texas

Forest Hills opera singer competing for America’s vote on ‘AGT’ this week


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by: Eric Liebowitz/NBC


A Texas-born, afro-sporting woman who enjoys football and mixed martial arts is not who most people imagine when they think of an opera singer.

That viewpoint is exactly what Forest Hills resident Olanna Goudeau is trying to prove wrong.

Goudeau, 32, and musical partner Ashley Renée Watkins, 29, will be singing for America’s vote Tuesday night in the hopes of spreading opera to a larger audience and winning $1 million.

“People feel [opera] is not accessible and not familiar to them,” Goudeau said. “We kind of want to be ambassadors for the art form.”

The singing duo, Acte II, is one of 48 acts that made it to the season nine “America’s Got Talent” quarterfinals, where they get to appear live at Radio City Music Hall and compete for viewers’ votes.

The ladies received yeses from all four judges, Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel, in the NBC show’s season nine premiere on May 27. They were so impressed that Acte II was selected to go straight through to the live performances, bypassing a second audition in front of the judges.

Mel B surprised Goudeau with the exciting news at her Queens home.

“I was completely shocked,” Goudeau said. “I didn’t say hello or invite her in.”

Before making it to the reality show stage, Goudeau’s love for singing started in church and with gospel music. As she grew older, she was introduced to classical music. But her focus on singing and opera as a career came in college.

After switching from a computer science major to music, she thought her program would focus on jazz music, since she was attending Dillard University in New Orleans. But to her surprise, she learned the classics and her passion for opera was born.

It was also at Dillard that she met Watkins, but they didn’t become friends until Goudeau was working on her master’s degree at the University of Oklahoma and Watkins was one of several Dillard students the school hosted following Hurricane Katrina.

They grew closer when they both were a part of Opera New Jersey one summer. The idea for Acte II started as way for them to find more singing opportunities in Europe and to do a concert tour.

“We enjoyed singing together,” Goudeau said. “So we were like, why don’t we make this official?”

The name and the group came to represent more.

“We wanted to make our own opportunities,” Goudeau said. “It’s like a second phase in life.”

The same weekend they were set to have their first concert, at the First AME Church: Bethel in Harlem, where Goudeau is currently an artist-in-residence, “America’s Got Talent” was holding auditions.

“We were so nervous that [the judges] wouldn’t accept opera,” she said. The pair both had their “afros out” and dressed like “everyday people.”

The judges not only accepted the art form, but were surprised by their voices.

“That was a moment and that was your moment,” Mel B said, adding that the performance made the hair on her arms stand up.

On Tuesday they will need to garner the same reaction from viewers. And Goudeau, who moved to Queens six years ago to pursue her New York City opera dreams, is asking the borough to vote for one of their own.

“[My family has] embraced Queens so much. I just feel so comfortable here. It’s such a community,” she said. “I hope Queens people vote.”

To watch Acte II perform live on “America’s Got Talent,” tune in on Tuesday, Aug. 5, at 9 p.m. To find out how to vote, visit www.nbc.com/americas-got-talent/vote/methods.

UPDATE: Acte II was eliminated in the Wednesday, Aug. 6 episode of “America’s Got Talent.”  To watch Acte II’ s Tuesday night performance, watch the video below. For more information on the singers, visit acteii.com.

 

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Man arraigned in murder of wife, kids; killed daughters because he didn’t have car seats, DA says


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

A Jamaica father accused of fatally stabbing his wife and small children in a jealous rage was arraigned and held without bail Friday.

Miguel Mejia-Ramos, 29, appeared in Queens County Court on charges of first-degree and second-degree murder, and criminal possession of a weapon after being extradited from Texas where he was captured by authorities Monday night, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

He allegedly killed his wife, 21-year-old Deisy Garcia, and their children, Daniela Mejia, 2, and Yaslin Mejia, 1 inside of their Sutphin Boulevard apartment sometime between late Saturday night and Sunday, Brown said. Each victim had multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

Photos via Facebook

He allegedly came home Saturday night after drinking beer at a friend’s house, and went through his wife’s phone and Facebook account , where he found a photo of her and another man, Brown said. Mejia-Ramos then allegedly snapped and killed his wife, then fatally stabbed his daughters after first hugging and kissing them and asking for their “forgiveness.”

The District Attorney also said he killed his girls because he didn’t have car seats to take them with after committing the crime, according to the New York Daily News. He was reportedly heading to Mexico when was caught in Texas.

“I met this morning with the family and close friends of Deisy Mejia who – together with her two infant daughters – were stabbed to death last weekend.  We were joined by the Guatemalan Consul General.  Everyone is, of course, devastated by that which occurred.  I assured them that this case will be vigorously prosecuted and there will be no plea bargaining,” Brown said in a statement Friday.

If convicted, Mejia-Ramos faces life in prison without possibility of parole. He is due back in court on Feb. 14.

A wake was held Thursday evening at Garcia’s local parish, Iglesia Naciones Unidas en Cristo for the young mother and her daughters.

Garcia, a native of Guatemala, was reportedly a frequent churchgoer and a student at York College, according to her Facebook page.

 

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Jamaica man charged with murder of wife, two young daughters


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A Jamaica man has been charged with the murder of his wife and two young daughters after being apprehended in Texas and allegedly admitting to the crime, District Attorney Richard Brown said Wednesday.

Miguel Mejia-Ramos, 29, is currently being held at the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office in Texas, where he was taken into custody on Monday evening, according to the district attorney.

He is awaiting extradition to New York where he will be arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Friday on charges of first-degree and second-degree murder, and criminal possession of a weapon.  If convicted, he faces life in prison without possibility of parole.

Mejia-Ramos is accused of brutally stabbing wife, 21-year-old Deisy Garcia, and their children, Daniela Mejia, 2, and Yaslin Mejia, 1 inside of their Sutphin Boulevard apartment sometime between late Saturday night and Sunday, Brown said. Each victim had multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

He allegedly came home Saturday night after drinking beer at a friend’s house, and went through his wife’s phone and Facebook account , where he found a photo of her and another man, Brown said. Mejia-Ramos then allegedly snapped and killed his wife, then fatally stabbed his daughters after first hugging and kissing them and asking for their “forgiveness.”

Garcia was reportedly a frequent churchgoer and her local parish, Iglesia Naciones Unidas en Cristo, said “our cry for her family [is] that God will fill them with peace and strength.”

“We give thanks to God for the years He gave her and for all the time we were able to share with her and her marvelous daughters,” they said.

Garcia, a native of Guatemala, was also a student at York College, according to her Facebook page.

-With additional reporting by Maggie Hayes

 

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Father wanted in stabbing death of wife, two daughters arrested in Texas


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A Queens man suspected in the brutal killing of his wife and two young daughters has been apprehended in Texas, police said.

Miguel Mejia-Ramos, 28, was arrested by U.S. Marshals, just before midnight Monday, between Austin and Houston, according to published reports. Charges are pending and he will appear in court before being extradited back to New York, cops said.

Police had been looking for Mejia-Ramos since discovering his wife, 21-year-old Deisy Garcia, and their children, Daniela Mejia, 2, and Yaslin Mejia, 1, stabbed to death in a bedroom of their Sutphin Boulevard apartment just after 7 p.m. Sunday. Each victim had multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, the NYPD said.

Photos via Facebook

Garcia was reportedly a frequent churchgoer and her local parish, Iglesia Naciones Unidas en Cristo, said “our cry for her family [is] that God will fill them with peace and strength.”

“We give thanks to God for the years He gave her and for all the time we were able to share with her and her marvelous daughters,” they said.

Garcia, a native of Guatemala, was also a student at York College, according to her Facebook page.

-With additional reporting by Maggie Hayes

 

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Missing Queens woman found in Texas


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Rajwinder Kaur

A Queens woman who went missing last Sunday was found safe in Texas.

The family of Rajwinder Kaur, 26, reported her missing after receiving a text from her cell phone saying she had been killed, reports said.

Kaur left her Jamaica house in the evening of Sunday, July 8.

A source told Eyewitness News that Kaur took a bus to Texas to avoid to avoid an arranged marriage.