Lampton, Jackson participate in national talent competition

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Two Brookhaven girls are enjoying life in Branson, Mo., thisweek while competing in a national talent competition.

Kelsey Ann Jackson, 10, and Margaret Alice Lampton, 11, will becompeting and performing all week with hundreds of children fromaround the country in the National Finals of the American KidsTalent Competition.

“The girls will have live stage appearances at many BransonTheatres and will also be guests at Ed McMahon’s Theatre,” saidKelsey Ann’s mother, Jennifer.

The competition features talented youth in vocal, instrumentaldance and general variety. Kelsey Ann and Margaret Alice will danceand sing “I Can’t Wait to be Queen” a version of The Lion Kingsong, “I Can’t Wait to be King.”

Kelsey Ann, daughter of Teddy and Jennifer Jackson, will alsocompete as a soloist in the country and patriotic divisions.

Margaret Alice, daughter of Dudley and Sally Lampton, willcompete as a soloist in the musical theatre division.

“I’m excited, really excited,” said Margaret Alice. “I can’twait to meet people and get their addresses and be pen pals.”

The girls agree the best part about performing in competitionsis having the opportunity to make so many friends. Their mothers,who travel with them, also like meeting other mothers supportingtheir children.

“We make friends with the other moms, so it’s kind of like afamily,” said Mrs. Jackson. “We all help each other out.”

Although this is the first national competition for the girls,they are not strangers to the stage.

Both are members of The Mississippi Girls Choir, while MargaretAlice also belongs to The Mississippi Kids Show Choir and KelseyAnn performs with The Mississippi Show Stoppers Show Choir.

They have also performed at Disney World and on the Carnivalcruise ship, Fantasy. They perform in southwest Mississippi withthe group “So Sassy,” also featuring nine-year-old Allison Whiteand the newest member, six-year-old Natalie Keene.

Allison was also on tap to compete at the national qualifier inApril, but underwent emergency surgery.

During the national qualifier, Margaret Alice and Kelsey Anncompeted with 265 other acts from Mississippi. Margaret Alice wongold with honors and two additional silver medals. Kelsey Annreceived gold with honors and two additional gold medals in thecompetition.

“They really enjoy being able to perform. It’s a lot of fun forthem,” said Mrs. Lampton. “They love the hometown crowd the best.Everyone in Brookhaven has always supported them.”

The girls have received choreography help from Amanda Burton,who has competed several times in the Miss Mississippi Pageant, andsound support from Brookhaven resident Butch Keene.

Kelsey Ann and Margaret Alice both dream of continuing a careerin music, with hopes of performing at the Miss Mississippi pageantand possibly getting a record deal one day.

Their families are supportive in their efforts, always offeringadvice and plenty of hugs.

Kelsey Ann sometimes gets pointers from her grandfather, whosang in a quartet in Lincoln County for a number of years.

Margaret Alice looks to family members, who have already made itin the music business, such as Brittany Spears, Paul Ott and hergrandmother, who had a hit in Nashville years ago.

“All of our family sings, so she has grown up singing,” saidMrs. Lampton. “Every Christmas each child in the family get anopportunity to get up and perform at family gatherings.

The girls are thankful for their families, who they call theirbiggest “fan clubs.”