THE FIRST time Katie Orlofske performed at the Capitol Music Hall in downtown Wheeling was back in 2000 as part of her grade school Christmas Show.
"I haven't been inside it (the Capitol) since they've remodeled it," Orlofske, who goes by the stage name Katie Ohh after she sang her way to a million dollars by winning "The Winner Is," said.
Her next appearance inside the Wheeling landmark will come Saturday night when she opens for country superstar Craig Morgan in a show sponsored by Generations. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and also features Raven Cliff
"I'm so excited," Ohh, the 23-year-old Powhatan Point native, said in a recent telephone interview from her home in Nashville. "It's going to be a real treat to perform in the Capitol again. It's my first real comeback show in the Ohio Valley since I moved to Los Angeles."
She hasn't played in the valley since 2011, and she's thrilled to be reunited with her old band from Pittsburgh, including her long-time guitarist Corey Congilio.
"Corey and I have been playing together since I was just out of high school," Ohh revealed. "I missed playing with him when I was in California, but it's great to have him in Nashville."
Growing up in the Ohio Valley, Ohh started playing the local clubs. She earned a nursing degree from Belmont College before embarking on a trip to the West coast where she honed her musical talents.
"Being around all the people that I've had the opportunity to be around in Los Angeles and Nashville, I've been able to soak up what they do. I think I've improved both as a vocalist and entertainer."
Ohh performed on the very first episode of "The Winner Is" this past summer, then returned for the finale when she outsang a pair of contestants.
"The exposure I received after that show has been really great," she admitted. "Now I can move forward with my career and try to reach my goal."
And, what would that goal be?
"To be successful in the music industry," she explained. "Music is my passion, but I've only been in Nashville for nine months, so I'm still a baby around these parts. But with hard work and persistence, I think I can achieve that goal."
She hasn't been able to perform for the last three months because of contractual obligations with NBC/Universal.
She is the daughter of Terry and Sherrie Orlofske of Bellaire. They held a party at their home atop Kirkwood Heights when "The Winner Is" finale was aired.
Although she's traveled all around the country, Ohh has never met Morgan, the owner of 16 Top 10 hits, but she can't wait.
"I've heard that he used to be a paramedic, so I think we have something in common we can talk about," she said.
During her 45-minute performance she said that those in attendance can expect to hear some of the songs that got her to where she is today, and a couple that she sang on "The Winner Is."
"It's going to be a great night. I can't wait," she added.
Morgan's hits include "Redneck yacht Club," "Bonfire," "That's What I Love About Sunday," "This Ole Boy," "International Harvester," and "Almost Home."
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org