A Moment Like This
Americans love talent shows. We do. We love a great voice to entertain us, amaze us and sometimes even move us. Now, the Phillies are always looking for talented performances at Citizens Bank Park. But this time we wanted to see if fans could deliver a superior national anthem performance on-field.
And so the “Phillies R U Game? Talent Search” was created! After seeing hundreds of fans in the Preliminary Auditions, our judges selected 15 finalists to move onto the Final Audition Round, to be held on Sunday, March 30, 2014 as part of Paint The Town Red. We’re going to highlight seven of our finalists in this week’s post (Don’t worry – we’ll have the other eight in next week’s entry!) to give you some insight on the amazingly talented vocal stars competing for the grand prize to sing the anthem at the April 30th game against the New York Mets.
Friends first and musicians second. Marisa Curcio, Samantha Goldberg, Kyle Blackburn and Andrew Stack are Phil’s Harmonix. This quartet made up of freshman currently attending the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, just met last semester but became close almost instantly. While practicing for a test just days before the preliminary audition, the three future music teachers and one opera singer hopeful decided they liked how they sounded together and would try out as Phil’s Harmonix. If they win, the April 30th game would be their first public appearance together.
His love of singing and a good competition led Tim Bolognone right to the R U Game? Talent Search finals. Tim, a ministry major and music minor in college, did a little bit of everything – operas, musicals, choral performances and even sang in a barbershop quartet. After college, he returned to Philadelphia with his wife, Allyson, and joined local choirs Singing City and Mendelssohn Club in addition to leading worship at Grace City Church, located in Northeast Philly. His resume is impressive, with performances in NBC’s Clash of the Choirs in 2007 in Patti LaBelle’s choir and a runner up in the Philadelphia Eagles anthem contest in 2009 under his belt, but he’s ready to win it all this time around.
A songbird since the age of three, Marley Alig has been studying voice since 14 and has performed the national anthem at various sporting events, including a Reading Royals ice hockey game – but she’s ready to move into the big leagues. Singing runs in the family for Marley as her great aunt previously performed at The Metropolitan Opera in New York City and her mom in various high school musicals. Although she has performed with jazz groups here and there, she’s a purist at heart and likes her national anthem done in classic style and sang how it was written. Marley is currently a student at Temple University, Fox School of Business working on a degree in marketing and resides in South Philadelphia.
A Jersey girl born and raised and longtime Phillies fan, Kelly LaVigna has sang professionally for years but hopes to fulfill a life-long dream to sing the national anthem at a Phillies game through the RU Game? Talent Search competition. Proud mom to her beautiful seven-year-old daughter, Lauren, Kelly is also co-owner of Route 9 Entertainment and the lead singer in various groups including her own solo act. With past performances as a studio demo singer for artists Brandy and Monica, multi-time winner at The Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night as well as live performances at many Atlantic City casinos, local venues and private parties, she’s ready to premiere on-field at Citizens Bank Park.
Jenna Bramble, a Phillies fan since she was three months old, learned how to sing the national anthem at the age of 10. From that point on, she has dreamed of singing it at a Phillies game and hopes to get her chance through the Phillies R U Game? Talent Search. While she doesn’t sing professionally, the former wedding singer and karaoke bar enthusiast does enjoy performing for friends and family and most of all – for fun. Jenna has performed the anthem and God Bless America at a major league ballpark before – for the Washington Nationals in 2008 – but we won’t hold that against her! (Kidding!!) She is a public relations manager for the tech start-up, Taxi Magic App, and lives with her husband, Frank, and their dog, Chase Mutley (pictured above), in Edgewater Park, NJ.
Valerie Martin has enthusiasm that is seriously contagious. A performer from the start, she began singing in church at the age of three and never stopped. A fan of Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson, Valerie looks up to women with outrageously powerful vocals for her inspiration. Her day job may be at Ballard Spahr, but she loves performing with her husband in their band, which they’ve been a part of for over 28 years, at local Philadelphia venues, weddings, restaurants, backyards and anywhere else she can showcase her talent! Valerie hopes to win it all at the inaugural Phillies R U Game? Talent Search this year.
Singing and making up songs since she could talk, Liz Kretschmer, of Newtown Square, Pa., is a natural at the art of vocal performance. Coming from an artistic family of ballet dancers, artists and videographers, Liz writes, records and produces her own songs in an effort to follow her dreams. Her background extends to performances in Opera Philadelphia’s production of Nabucco, in an acting role, as well as part of the Pennsylvania Academy of Performing Arts’ Concordia. Liz dedicates all of her performances to her true inspiration – her mom (pictured above on the right), who recently became ill, but inspires her daughter to follow her passion to the fullest of her capabilities.
Our 2013 Draft Pick, J.P. Crawford reminded us that we really love this game too.
That’s all this week. We’ll have the other half of our wonderful Phillies R U Game? Talent Search finalists for you next week. Enjoy the first weekend of the spring!