County kids to shine in the spotlight


Illuminated by a bright spotlight, Kylie Cooley tap-danced across South Carroll High School's auditorium stage.

She smiled and winked at the audience as she performed her song-and-dance routine.

"Mom says I have Broadway on the brain ... I was born to entertain," Kylie belted out loudly.

The lyrics were fitting for the 7-year-old Winfield Elementary pupil, who was rehearsing her performance for a talent show scheduled to be held at the high school Friday.

Elementary, middle and high school students from across Carroll County will participate.

The talent show will provide a place for children to perform, said Lydia Courtney, South Carroll's chorus teacher and adviser.

"My understanding is that Carroll County used to have talent shows back in the day ... we are sort of bringing back a relic with this," Courtney said.

All money raised from the talent show will go to the South Carroll High School chorus to help fund a trip to New York City for a Heritage Festival performance.

More than 30 students in the school's honors chorus and folk ensemble are planning to attend the event, scheduled for March 16--19, Courtney said.

South Carroll students Katia Racine, a junior, and Paige Burger, a sophomore, are part of the chorus, and they came up with idea to host the talent show.

Just as the talent show is intended to offer local students a venue to perform, Heritage Festivals are held around the country to provide choirs, bands and orchestras an opportunity to perform.

Hosted at about 20 locations in the United States this spring, the festivals allow students to interact with other student performers and top music professionals, according to information provided by the organization.

During the trip, the chorus will also have the opportunity to see a Broadway show and tour New York City.

Racine and Burger said South Carroll used to have a schoolwide talent show, but it was canceled several years ago.

"So, we thought let's just open it up to more people," Burger said. "It'll be something cool to start to unify the schools and the community countywide."

The preliminary competition for the talent show was open to any Carroll County public school student; more than 70 students tried out, Courtney said.

Nick Bishop, 9, decided to put together a magic show for the competition.

"I was interested in magic when I was little, and I don't really like singing and dancing," said Nick, a fourth-grader at Eldersburg Elementary School. Right before the try-out he grabbed his sister, Lauren, 6, to be his "lovely assistant."

When their mother, Erin Bishop, heard they had been selected to compete, she said she was really impressed because the auditorium was packed with kids hoping to be selected for the show.

"It's a great thing for the community because it really gives the kids so much self-confidence when they get to do something like this," Bishop said.

In the end, 10 elementary school acts, 5 middle school acts and 5 high school acts were chosen to participate.

Dominick Resto-Harper, a sophomore at Winter's Mill High School, is performing Celine Dion's "I Surrender."

"I really like singing. It's something I've done all my life," Resto-Harper said. "There's no better feeling than being on stage. You get such an adrenaline rush."

Sydney Griesmar, a 9-year-old Eldersburg Elementary pupil, said she is not nervous about her piano solo because she has played in many other recitals.

Joseph Priola is singing a Green Day song while his friend Tyler Atwell plays the guitar.

The two 10-year-old Piney Ridge Elementary pupils said they are going to be "punked out" for the competition.

"We are going to wear eyeliner and black hair dye and stuff," Joseph said.

Spectators can expect to see other performances, including dance routines, a blues band and a martial arts demonstration.

The talent show organizers recruited three individuals involved with arts and music to be judges for the show.

Paul Zimmerman, president of the Carroll Arts Council, Shellie Rosso, head of Merrit Dance Academy, and Paul Matthews, who teaches music theory at the Peabody Conservatory, will select the top finishers from each school division.

The winners will receive prize money and gift certificates donated by the Carroll County Arts Council and other local businesses.

But Courtney reminded the students at the rehearsal that it doesn't matter who places.

"The judges are going to pick someone to be first, someone to be second and someone to be third. But what's the real reward?" she asked them. "It's that everyone is a winner because we are all already so talented."

The talent show will be held at 6 p.m. Friday in the South Carroll High School Auditorium, 1300 W. Old Liberty Road, Winfield. Cost is $3 for students and $5 for adults.

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