From their seats high in the corner of Stockton's Bob Hope Theatre, Richard and Valerie Mahoney waited anxiously for their son, Davis Mahoney, to take the stage on March 30.
Richard Mahoney had his camera set to "record." Valerie Mahoney whistled and cheered, watching 11-year-old Davis stand tall in his black suit with a microphone in hand.
"Oh my word. He looked so little!" Valerie Mahoney recalled after the show.
That small body gave no indication of the mature voice that came booming forth as Davis won first place in the junior division with his rendition of Sandi Patty's "Come Let Us Worship the King."
Singing doesn't make Davis Mahoney nervous. It's just something he likes to do to make other people happy, he said.
"I just don't think when I'm up on stage. I don't think about anything," he said. He prefers to sing Christian rock and songs from church.
Richard and Valerie Mahoney signed Davis up for the Lodi Children's Chorus, directed by Robert Tan. As an only child who is homeschooled by his mother, Davis needed an outlet to spend more time with other children. That's when his hidden talent came to life.
"He's one of these kids who is born with a voice," said Tan.
Davis Mahoney has offered his voice at community events, including a Stockton Ports game last summer, local group meetings and a neighborhood block party.
But it was hard for his parents to know just how good he was without putting his voice to the test. Davis Mahoney agreed to audition for Apollo Night at the Boys and Girls Club in Lodi. He made it through both rounds of auditions without any trouble.
After he scored first place in his division, a few judges stopped the family and asked if he had a YouTube account, adding that Richard and Valerie needed to do something to put their son's talent in the limelight.
"It's kind of scary. We're pretty conservative people. We don't know if we want that for our son or not," said Richard Mahoney. "We feel like this is a gift he's been blessed with. We can't hamper it, but we haven't pursued it."
For now, Davis Mahoney will continue with his studies at home. He recently finished a unit on high school geometry and is on course to graduate early. He likes to play his guitar and trumpet and set up model trains. The plan changes often, but this week, Davis Mahoney wants to be a botanist when he grows up.
Valerie Mahoney said the family isn't closing any doors on her son's future.
"I don't want his life turned upside down and I'm sure that it could be. We're going to just take it as it comes."
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.