Talent abounds at festival auditions

MARYSVILLE — Dozens of local performers arrived at the Marysville-Pilchuck High School auditorium May 7-8, to audition for spots in the 2009 Marysville Strawberry FestivalTalent Show June 18.

Although there were more than a few dancers willing to strut their stuff onstage May 7, such as 17-year-old Libby Schindler, singers tended to predominate throughout the auditions. Corrine Taylor, 17, crooned “This Is Me,” while 8-year-old Kennedy Miller marched onstage in a Little Orphan Annie outfit to belt out “Tomorrow.”

At 20 years old, Jim Cheesman was one of the older singers to appear at the auditions., but his delivery of Robbie Williams’ “Angels” was the culmination of years of practice.

“I’ve been singing all my life, but I only started singing in public during my senior year at Lakewood High School,” Cheesman said. “I used to be too shy to get up onstage, but by my senior year, I was sick of being shy. My family told me that I’d do a good job, so I did a show at LHS.”

Cheesman had hoped to compete in last year’s talent show, but was too late to try out. He chose “Angels,” not so much because of any personal connection with the song, but because “it’s just a beautiful song that really lets me emote.”

Leanna Totten and Brianna Jason, both 9, performed a duet of one of the songs from the musical “Wicked,” which they’d seen in Portland, Ore. When asked what inspired them to step up and sing, their answers were simple.

“She made me,” Jason said, pointing to Totten.

“I just really wanted to sing, and this song was really pretty,” Totten said.

The girls’ mothers, Karen Totten and Carol Jason, noted that the song is about friendship, which both of the girls liked. According to both moms, their girls have been singing since they first met, eight years ago.

“Just remember the words in your head,” Brianna Jason advised other younger singers. “Do your best to forget you’re in front of an audience. Act like you’re singing at home, in front of nobody.”

“I close my eyes when I sing,” Leanna Totten added. “If you pretend everyone is in their underwear, you won’t have to worry about stage fright.”

Karen Totten and Carol Jason agreed that they were proud of their girls, and that they appreciated there being such a showcase for local talent.

Of those who auditioned May 7-8, finalists are being selected to compete in the talent show, June 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the M-PHS auditorium.

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