WEEK TWO OF 'VOCALIST' AT MEDIA THEATRE DELIVERS ON TALENT--WITH PICS!

Last week's introduction of the 2015 "Vocalist" contestants at The Media Theatre, in which each competitor brought their A-Game to the summer Wednesday night event, allowed the audience to know this was truly a talented group. 
Francesca Venecia, 18, of Collegeville, opened the night with Adele's "One and Only"
                                                  CLICK ON PICS TO ENLARGE
Lauryn Morgan Thomas, 19, Upper Darby, does "Fine Fine Line" from Avenue Q
During the second week which held July 15, the fulfillment of that initial promise became a reality. Each singer held the audience's rapt attention, with a varied selection of songs from Kurt Weill, Mozart, Sondheim, and all the way up through the chronological time continuum to Adele and Alicia Keys.
18 year old Emma Smith, of Phoenixville, sings "Losing My Mind"
 
Hope Smalley did her own version of "You're The One That I Want". She's 18 from Secane

Often during the second week, after the initial adrenalin-fueled first presentation of week one, the vocalists delve into songs with lots of angst and soul-challenging perspective rather than simply singing the ‘fun’ type of songs they choose at first. Week two proved no exception to the tradition as the singers performed songs about life’s unfulfilled promises, love gone awry, and personal introspection. Even John Lennon’s “Imagine” was given the spotlight.
Skyler Shields belts out "Corner of The Sky". He's 16 from Downingtown

 
Bill Vargus emceed
Nicolle Riviello, 15, of Broomall, sings "Cowboy Take Me Away"

A view from Ben Kapilow's eyes. He is the accompanist for the event

24 year old Paoli resident Robert Rinaldo channels Billy Joel with "She's Got A Way"

We go from Billy Joel to Elton John by way of Abby Pancoast, 15, of Bryn Mawr with "Your Song"
Audience members Sandra McKeown and her daughter Alexsa watch with rapt attention

It's "Glitter In The Air" for Camille Mola, 23, of Springfield
Sue Serio introduced the evening and quickly vanished off stage right. She is a very early riser on Thursday mornings as she must get to FOX-TV Channel 29 in Philadelphia to do her weather anchor spot on "Good Day Philadelphia". While she was missed, she stayed just long enough to introduce her cheerful and congenial husband Bill Vargus, who carried the emcee duties with aplomb.

The judges this week--Broadway actor Kelly Briggs, Iron Workers Bank's Tim D'Ignazio, and Artistic Director Jesse Cline--each ranked the contestants in Vocal Ability, Song Choice, and Stage Presence while Cline had one extra category--Individualism, which is all about personality, honesty, and what each contestant carries within them throughout the competition. After the first three weeks, the ballots will be added up along with the public votes and eliminations will take place prior to the Semi-Finals Week Four.
Jacob Mergott, 16, from Swarthmore does "Let It Be" 

 
15 going on 40 Paul Mariani of Ardmore does John Lennon's "Imagine". Without planning it, as the singers performed in backwards alphabetical order, two Beatles-written tunes appeared back to back. How 'bout that?

The moments of unrehearsed chatter with Cline after each performance provided levity at times. When Cline asked Paul Mariani III where he hoped, as he grew older, to share his vocal talents, Mariani replied immediately "in bars". He's only 15, so the response created one of the biggest chuckles of the night.

Cline also had an unrehearsed comment directly targeted toward the audience, as he noticed that after intermission a large percentage of the crowd had disappeared from their seats. "It's truly not appropriate," Cline said after the first song in Act Two. "Everyone who buys a ticket should support all of these vocalists while they cheer on their favorite contestant. It's unfair to those in Act Two to have a smaller audience as they come out here to do their best."

Erin Lynch sings "Next To Me". She's 15 from Swarthmore
It's "A New Life" for Danielle Lachall, 24, of Aston

18 year old Maggie Kennedy of Malvern sings "Glitter In The Air" 
16 year old Kaelyn Henry of West Chester belts out "Don't You Remember"
Waiting backstage to sing her rendition of "Valerie" is Charlene Gonzalez, 21, of Media
Troy Gartner, 17, of Paoli, does the little heard "Once In Love With Amy" 
Aiden Everly, 18, Pottstown, does "Hallelujah"
Amelia Dubendorf, 14, sings "Alma Del Core"
"I Am, I Said" sings Thomas Dempsey, 16, Brookhaven 
As is usually the case, even amidst a broad canvas of extreme uniquely talented vocalists, there were stand-outs. Thomas Dempsey, Brookaven’s 16 year old crooner, reminded everyone why Neil Diamond's "I Am, I Said" is such a terrific, poetic pop classic. Julia DeGruchy, 19, of Philadelphia, did an outstanding "Lost In The Stars" by the aforementioned Kurt Weill, and Chesroleeysia Bobb, 16, of Feasterville, certainly would have won the Best Costume honor if it existed as she looked elegant from hairstyle all the way to her shoes. 
Julia DeGruchy, 19, Philadelphia sings "Lost In The Stars"
Victoria D'Ascenzo, 14, Upper Darby sings "At Last"
Rhiannon Charney's name and age are proudly displayed as she does a Mozart selection

 
Chesroleeysia Bobb looks splendid as she sings "If I Ain't Got You". She's 16 from Feasterville
Grace Atherholt, 19, of York sings "Blackbird"
Final singer on July 15 Caroline Adams does "Legally Blonde". She's from Media and is 17

So, "Vocalist 2015" Week Two was another glimpse into superb talent. It's a reminder that, while it's a competition, it's also super summer entertainment, more than worth the price of a $12 to $15 ticket. It was an excellent evening in which a few of the greatest ballads of all time, from many years ago to current day, were in the spotlight due to this terrific group of singers ages 14 to 24.

Who will eventually win is anyone's guess.

For tickets to "The Vocalist" at The Media Theatre, call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org. The contest is sponsored by Iron Workers Bank. Live streaming is also available. You may vote for your favorite contestant online or by calling. 
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