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Students ‘bring it’ for talent show auditions

Brookhaven’s got talent.

Or at least, Brookhaven’s got a lot of people who think they’vegot talent, and they hope the judges on the popular reality show”America’s Got Talent” agree.

Twelve-year-olds Natalie McKenzie and Morgan Barron are two ofthem. The Loyd Star students are both headed to Atlanta for theFeb. 20 audition, primarily after being inspired by another groupthat included young people from Brookhaven.

The Focus Show Choir, coached by Faith Martin, auditioned inDallas at the end of January. Twenty-eight kids from Mississippi,including 10 from Brookhaven, performed a tribute to MichaelJackson for the audition and … well… that’s all they can sayright now.

“Definitely look at the show,” said Martin. “I think they didwell. After the audition they talked to them and wanted to know ifthey had anything else.”

Because of the show’s strict privacy guidelines, Focus memberswill not be able to divulge how they did until the show airs.”America’s Got Talent” airs on NBC, but show times and when theDallas audition footage will be shown were not immediatelyknown.

Jennifer Calhoun, the mother of 14-year old performer AlexCalhoun, said the dance team was definitely on their game.

“They were ready to go, they probably performed four or fivetimes before they made it to the audition,” Calhoun said. “Theywere pulled out of line to perform for the cameras several times,that probably worked out some of their nervousness.”

Meanwhile, McKenzie and Barron and other Brookhaven-areawould-be stars took their cues from the show choir, and plan toattend the tryouts in Atlanta. Others may attend the one inPortland, Ore., said voice coach Lorin Lewis.

And Lewis’ students also adopted a phrase from Martin’sdancers.

“To perform as well as we can, and bring it,” said McKenzie.

Lewis said the “bring it” part represents not just a spectacularvocal performance, but the whole performing package.

“When I say ‘bring it,’ they know exactly what that means,” shesaid. “It’s more than just vocals. A lot of good singers havethose. But the ones who get noticed are the ones who bring it.”

McKenzie and Barron will both perform songs that will showcasetheir vocal capabilities in the first 45 seconds, since most peoplewho audition don’t have more than about that long before the judgeshave heard all they need to hear.

Lewis said the singers will be put into groups of 10 at a time,and will be required to step forward and sing a selection.

Barron said he’s just a little nervous about the performance,but he thinks he’s ready to go.

“Ms. Lorin told me about it and I thought it would be a goodexperience,” he said.

Lewis and Martin said the experience on a national stage themost important part of the tryout as far as they’re concerned.

“What they get out of this is a fabulous experience, and they’regetting to share it with their friends,” said Lewis.

And hopes are high going into the audition. Lewis said there’sno way to tell what the judges will do, but that her students arewinners either way.

“There is no way you could ever predict these things,” she said.”These kids have good work ethics, amazing talents and if it’stheir time, they’re ready.”