By Taylor Alessi and Nikita Ramos
Juliette Walcott used her left hand to adjust the microphone on the center stage while her right held a red ukulele across her torso. After running her hand through her voluptuous cherry hair one last time, Walcott rested her gaze on the back of the venue of 40-60 people. Her soft voice resonated through the speakers as she strummed her ukulele chords to the song, “Perfect” by pop singer Pink.
Proud parents and supporting families of the 17 performers for their loved ones to showcase their talents in the Educational and Cultural Center in Stony Brook.
Long Island’s Got Talent is an annual vocal and instruments talent show for students 10 to 17 years old. At the conclusion of performances, a panel of judges selects seven finalists who have a chance to receive a share of $25,000 in scholarships from Five Towns College. The evening of Friday, April 8 was the first rounds of Long Island’s Got Talent, finding out which students made the cut.
“The scholarship is a really great opportunity to give anyone with talent an opportunity to actually get a scholarship and go to a good college and get an education,” Walcott said. “I think that’s really important and really valuable to society to help out young musicians to get to college and get an education.”
With the rate of college tuition at a steady increase every year, the scholarship can go a long way for some of the contestants.
Five Towns College awards the first place winner with a $6,000 scholarship and second place with $5,000. All finalists, win a scholarship of $2,000 or more, depending on place.
“To have the opportunity to go to a school like Five Towns College with a $6,000 scholarship would just be such a great opportunity” Walcott’s mother, Karen Walcott, said.
The Ward Melville Heritage Organization helps out local events and provides a mission to maintain and protect the historical environmental properties that will shape it for the upcoming years.
Fanny Lam hosted the event and works as an education outreach manager through the Ward Melville Heritage Organization.
“I like that it fosters the community, it exposes students to a competitive environment but also a supportive environment” Lam said.
The 17 performers took the stage to show off their talent and prove why they were there. Whether it be for the scholarship or for growth in performance, the students performed with a purpose.
“I think just being here with this atmosphere you grow as an artist, and it’s just a fun opportunity,” contestant Jaclyn Manfredi said.
“We’re happy to be here, I think it’s a great experience for all of the performers they all did really great,” Manfredi’s mother, Anita Manfredi said.
The finalists who are chosen can perform at the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Sunday Summer Concert series. The final round of performances before placing winners will take place on October 21, 2016.
“I’m very impressed by the collegiality of students so young,” Lam said. “It gives me a lot of faith for our future generations.”