A talent show at Radio City Music Hall would be intimidating to most, but not for the group of children performing at the Garden of Dreams Foundation's Talent Show on April 16. After all, the children have already faced tremendous obstacles including illness, death in the family, poverty and homelessness just to get to the show where they will showcase their musical and dancing talents.
The Garden of Dreams Foundation is a nonprofit that provides opportunities for underprivileged children. One of the events that it puts on is a free talent show that lets some very special children perform at Radio City in New York.
The children selected to perform at Radio City come from the 22 organizations that the Garden of Dreams works with, including the Children's Aid Society, Children's Village, Hackensack University Medical Center, Make-A-Wish Foundation, New York University Medical Center and the Ronald McDonald House. The Garden of Dreams, working with Madison Square Garden along with the New York Knicks and Rangers, also hosts educational programs, weeklong summer camps, sports meet-and-greets and other events for children and their families.
The talent show at Radio City lets the children really express themselves and on Monday, the kids performed at rehearsals held in front of Mindless Behavior, a R&B pop group, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels from Run DMC, Miss USA Nana Meriwether, Tony Vincent, who starred in Broadway’s “American Idiot,” as well as The Rockettes and Knicks City Dancers.
The talent and performances were as diverse as the children’s backgrounds. From traditional singing, to rapping to dancing and choral performances, the talent show offered plenty of heart and inspirational moments.
The performers performed their routines and also received some great advice from the celebrity mentors. Gina started things off on piano performing Alicia Keys’ “Brand New Me.” Even though she has only one year at the piano, Vincent raved about her performance and said she had a beautiful voice, while the members of Mindless Behavior were impressed by her confidence. In another routine by Alexis, performing a dance from the “Lion King,” Tara Dunleavy praised her natural fluidity and strength.
In the most personal performance of the rehearsal, Kesean Sessions, from Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., delivered an original rap about the death of his mother. He reveals the daily struggle he goes through as he deals with the murder of his mother when he was six-years-old. Kesean’s mother was killed in front of him and his father is in jail, and in the lyrics, Kesean describes his difficult upbringing, as well as making mistakes and getting in trouble in school. The celebrity mentors were touched by the story and gave Kesean constructive advice on how to deliver the powerful message in his lyrics to a large audience when he performs at Radio City.
The Maribal Sisters from the Children’s Aid Siociety performed a dance routine to Beyonce's "Get Me Bodied" and the Knicks City Dancers praised their performance. The Maribal Sisters also practice with the Knicks City Dancers, and Ana DeMatos and Alyss Quezada said their temmates come away constantly impressed during their practice sessions.
The Children’s Aid Society Choir performed a spirited version of “We Are Young” by fun. that left the mentors impressed by their timing and harmonies. The last performers of the night were also the youngest, including 5-year-old Malik Naser, from the Make a Wish Foundation of New Jersey, who performed a Bruno Mars song.
Each of the performers displayed enormous confidence and were beaming with pride after they performed in front of the celebrity mentors. With one more rehearsal before the Talent Show at Radio City on April 16, it seems conquering the large stage of Radio City will pose little challenge to the talented performers.