Imagine the thrill of being invited to the famous Apollo Theatre in New York City. And then to go with a bus load of hopeful entertainers, friends and family to stand on the stage and perform.

For 12-year-old Blake and 11-year-old Brandon Brown of Westminster this was a dream come true. On Wednesday, the brothers traveled to New York with their mom, Paula Cook, and a small group of friends and family on a bus sponsored by Kemet Productions.

"It felt good to just stand on the stage at the Apollo," said Blake. "We didn't win, but we went to the Apollo."

For Blake and Brandon the adventure began this summer with an audition for Kemet Productions of Baltimore. At the audition they were chosen to perform in the Kemet Productions Road to Stardom Showcase, a competition held at the Tower Theatre in Baltimore on July 30.

"It was awesome," said Ms. Cook of the Baltimore show. "The boys were at their best. They had the crowd right where they wanted them." As winners in that competition, the boys were chosen to advance to the Apollo Theatre.

With fliers announcing, "Apollo, Here We Come," the family visited local malls and businesses to solicit donations to help pay the $45 per person charged by Kemet Productions for the bus and tickets for family members.

The singing and dancing duo was thrown a curve almost immediately upon entering the Apollo.

"We had planned to use a [background] tape for their performance," Ms. Cook said. "But when we got there the boys were introduced to a band and we found out they could not use their tape. They had to sing and dance with a band they didn't even know. And they were only given five minutes to practice," she said.

"They didn't really even know our song at all," said Blake, adding that he and his brother were overwhelmed by how loud the band was. "The music was completely different from our tape, and we couldn't even hear ourselves sing."

A sudden change of this sort would unravel even the seasoned performer, but Blake and Brandon took to the stage with a positive attitude.

Although their mom said their performance was not their best one, she said they did a great job.

This was only the fifth performance for the boys. They had only performed in a school talent show and two lip-sync contests at the Westminster Fallfest before.

Blake and Brandon Brown attend the Patty Neivert School of Dance in Westminster on a scholarship provided by the Carroll County Arts Council.

"The arts council has been a blessing," said Ms. Cook. "They have helped me give my children every opportunity. All we have to do is believe in our children and give them all we can and they will find good in the world. There is so much good in the world, if we only look for it."

From every experience comes some good. At the Apollo Theatre it is customary to boo even the good acts, so even though Blake and Brandon did not win, they came away with the reward of being applauded at the Apollo.


Do you remember the fun of being a Girl Scout . . . of camping, making crafts and being a team with other girls with like interests? Fun and adventure could be awaiting your daughter in the Girl Scout program.

Girls in kindergarten through fifth grade and their parents are invited to attend a Girl Scout recruitment program at the United Methodist Church at Main and Center streets at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. Sept. 16.

Parent volunteers also are needed for troop leaders and committee positions. Training for adult positions is provided.


The ninth annual Honey Harvest Festival will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Hashawha Environmental Center, at 300 John Owings Road, Westminster.

Demonstrations, live entertainment, exhibits, food concessions and honey-related crafts and foods will be featured throughout the day. There will be a honey cooking contest and a honey brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Check out the observation hive to see how bees work. Would you like to see a man with a bee beard? Find out everything and anything you ever wanted to know about honey bees at the Honey Bee Festival.


The Junior Woman's Club of Westminster invites you to a Kids Consignment Sale to be held Sept. 16, from 7 a.m. to noon at the First Presbyterian Church at 65 Washington Road, (Route 32), Westminster.

This may be just the place to shop for quality school and dress clothes at bargain prices. There will be snowsuits, coats, boots, toys, baby equipment, swings, strollers, cribs and more available.

A portion of the proceeds from the day will benefit the Carroll Children's Fund. Ample parking is available at entrances off Washington Road and Bennett Avenue.

For more information or to consign, call 848-1353.

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