As he chases his dog around the backyard, Derek Govin appreciates the slower pace of his life in Roanoke.
It's a far cry from the lifestyle that could be waiting for him in a few months.
"I wouldn't have imagined this could happen," Govin said with a smile Tuesday.
Govin is a special education teacher at a Roanoke County school, but on the side he's pursuing a music career.
He developed his passion, while singing in the choir at George Wythe High School.
"Senior year of choir was really where I found myself and started to figure out who I was," Govin said. "It was a great experience that just snowballed."
Govin refined his work and eventually found a producer in Colorado to record his songs.
A few months ago he released this cover of the song "Let it Go" from the movie Frozen.
That caught the attention of American Idol host Ryan Secreast, who selected Govin as a finalist for a nationwide talent search called "March Music Madness."
Govin didn't enter the contest and didn't even realize he was a contestant.
"I freaked out!" Govin said. " I was at dinner with a buddy of mine when I found out and I jumped up from the table."
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, as Govin has made it through round after round. He's now among the final ten in the competition.
If he doesn't make it, he'll be just fine with the simple life.
When it comes to a lifelong dream, however, it's hard to just "let it go."
"I would feel perfectly happy either way, but we'll let whatever happens happen," said Govin.
The next round of the contest ends on Friday. If he gets enough votes, Govin will be in the final seven and could eventually win a trip to Hollywood to sing on national television.