‘America’s Got Talent’ finalist performs at Silverthorne Pavilion to benefit Domus Pacis
IF YOU GO
What: An Evening with Miguel Dakota
When: Sunday, Oct. 25, 7–9:30 p.m.
Where: Silverthorne Pavilion
More information: Tickets can be purchased on the Domus Pacis website, domuspacis.org/events, or from an SHS speech and debate club member.
Volunteer with Domus Pacis: There are many ways to volunteer with Domus Pacis, and there is no time commitment. Go to domuspacis.org/how-to-help for more information on how to help.
Miguel Dakota wowed judges and audiences on Season 9 of “America’s Got Talent” enough to make it to the finals. Performing alongside Lenny Kravitz to “American Woman” on the last episode, the whirlwind experience of being on the NBC show has given the Colorado native enough exposure to pursue his passion of music full time.
On Sunday, Oct. 25, Dakota is giving back to the Colorado community by performing a concert at the Silverthorne Pavilion to benefit Domus Pacis Family Respite, a Summit County nonprofit that provides respite for cancer patients and their families in the mountains. Part of the proceeds will also benefit the Summit High School speech and debate club, who are volunteering their time in support of the concert. The performance will be held from 7–9:30 p.m. in Silverthorne; tickets are $25.
“(Miguel) has this very genuine sensitivity — besides being extremely talented — and that’s really what Domus Pacis is all about, the sensitivity of this community to understand how blessed we are and to want to share that,” said Duck White-Petteruti, executive director of Domus Pacis. “Our conversations with Miguel were along those same lines — the sensitivity towards what we do and how could he help. … This is a way someone is using their talent for good. He ties in very well with who we are.”
And for Dakota, the opportunity to play in support of Domus Pacis resonated with him in a very personal way.
“My lead guitar player and myself have both had close experiences with our mom’s having cancer,” he said. “We appreciate what they do and their help with families — giving them a time of rest to where they can all enjoy each other during such a hard process that has affected so many people in general in our society today. It’s really awesome for them to be giving back in such a strong way, and Colorado is such a beautiful place for families to come, and truly find respite in the natural environment that we have here.”
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‘AMERICA’S GOT TALENT’
From Monument, Colorado, Dakota picked up his first guitar at age 11. He was exposed to a life of music early on, as his parents were both musicians. Dakota and his siblings grew up in a house filled with songs, and he attended his first Jazz Fest in New Orleans at 10 days old. A budding singer songwriter, music became a way to cope with the hardships of life.
“Hearing his back story about his family, his dad not being available to the family and that he quit college to come home, to do construction work,” White-Petteruti said. “Music was a secondary thing.”
Dakota was playing small venues and coffee shops as a solo singer-songwriter, and landed on “America’s Got Talent” after sending a submission through ReverbNation.com.
“They have opportunities all the time to send in your page to different things, and one was ‘Americas Got Talent,’ and I did it and then didn’t really think about it,” he said. “They called me a couple weeks later and asked me to audition in Denver.”
Things began to accelerate after that. Dakota made it through auditions, to the show, and all the way to the season finals, playing with music icon Kravitz.
“I didn’t really have any expectations going in, I was just super excited to take advantage of the experience and really get the most out of it that I could,” he said. “Music was always what I wanted to pursue, and what I love to do, so no matter what happened I was going to continue to do that.”
Dakota said he learned a lot about the behind-the-scenes aspects of the music industry from the show and about TV production and the industry in general. He still keeps in touch with several other competitors from the show.
“It was really awesome as well to be around a bunch of really talented people that are also pursuing their dream and what they love to do,” he said.
AFTER THE SHOW
His musical pursuits have escalated since the show last year, and now Dakota pursues music as a full-time career, touring with his band, Miguel Dakota and The Differents. The band, consisting of lead guitarist and co-songwriter Ryan Wagner, bassist Ryan Martin, and drummer Brian Nolan, formed around the same time the show was airing. Dakota said it’s been a huge musical progression since then.
“It’s afforded me more of an opportunity to do music full time and really go after it 100 percent,” he said. “We’ve really focused on using music to help people, and continue speaking about what we believe in through music, so it’s been really awesome to be able to do that more and more and through larger groups of people.”
The group released their debut album “Love and Freedom” in February, and have been touring throughout the U.S. Dakota said the band is now based in Denver.
“We’ve been playing a lot around the Denver scene and really starting to make a name up here in the scene that’s growing so much,” he said.
Domus Pacis is a local nonprofit that gives families struggling through cancer the opportunity to spend a week in the mountains, providing them with housing, meals and other opportunities. White-Petteruti said the focus of their Domus Pacis Concert Series is to find talent that appeals across generations, as their organization serves family members of all ages. White-Petteruti said Dakota was her first thought for their next concert because of his ties to Colorado and due to the fact that both she and her husband were such big fans of Dakota after watching him on “America’s Got Talent.”
“He’s one of those people you look at and you’d like him to be the kid down the street and be his second mom,” she laughed.
When Vince White-Petteruti reached out to Dakota for the concert, he took one look at the opportunities the organization provided and immediately agreed.
“We always try to get people in a good mood, no matter what they come in with, whether they’ve had a really stressful day or a hard month or year,” Dakota said. “Just from the performance we give that night, (we want) them to feel a bit of hope and joy through our performance, and I think that’s what’s really cool about doing this concert for Domus Pacis.
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