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News Maryland Howard County Laurel

Second Summer Youth Music Showcase planned

This summer, Laurel's teenage musicians will have an opportunity to share their talents with community members and industry professionals at the second annual Laurel Youth Music Showcase.

The showcase, an open mic concert series run jointly by the Laurel Department of Parks and Recreation and local production company Breasia Studios, will be held every Thursday night from June 5 to July 24 at Granville Gude Park.

Each concert goes from 6 to 8 p.m., and participants between the ages of 13 and 19 can sign up to perform starting at 5:15 p.m. They can choose to play any cover or original song as long as it has appropriate lyrics.

Three judges will be present to give performers feedback in the style of American Idol, and each week a music industry professional selected by Breasia will talk to the competitors.

Audience members will be given a code that allows them to vote online for their favorite performer at the end of the night. The winners from each week can compete in the showcase finale on July 24 for such prizes as vocal lessons and the chance to have a song mixed and mastered for free at Breasia Studios.

Laurel resident NicKayla Tucker won last summer's showcase, topping six other finalists with her performances of an original song and a cover of Adele's "Someone Like You."

Fresh Flights, a pop and rhythm and blues group made up of area high school students, will serve as the house band at each concert.

"We're trying to get a whole bunch of kids coming out to perform," said Jimmese Hill, an administrative assistant at Breasia. "We have a goal, and we're trying to reach that goal."

Hill said Breasia has been working to promote the showcase by passing out fliers and postcards at Laurel's annual Main Street Festival and advertising in local schools. The company is currently trying to book an appearance on "The Steve Harvey Morning Show" to reach an even wider audience.

The Laurel City Council was very receptive to the idea of a second showcase, Hill said, and its members have encouraged Breasia to spread the word and get people talking about it.

"They were very excited about it," she said.

In addition to putting on the showcase, Breasia Studios, located in Laurel on Compton Avenue, specializes in artist management and audiovisual production for large events in the Washington, D.C., region.

Hill said the enthusiastic responses she has received so far have only made her more excited to see Laurel's young musicians take to the Burton Memorial Stage this summer.

"I enjoy music," she said. "Getting the kids involved with that is a great thing."

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