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Your vote counts: Last push to send local talent to Radio City Music Hall

December 16, 2010
But they need your vote. If you are not a regular on Facebook, you may not know about the contest or "Alpenglow," so Nora Mulkern-Bean, Tess and Tom Mulkern invite the community to come to the Shannon Door on Sunday Dec. 19 at 5 p.m. to hear "Alpenglow" perform, have a chance to vote (they will provide the laptops). The gathering will also help raise money for one of the singers, Abby Miller, who is on her way to perform and audition at the iPop convention in Los Angeles.

Local Facebook community members have been humming, buzzing and soliciting votes for the group. For those not connected on the social networking site, Mary Bastoni-Rebmann, the director of "Seussical the Musical," teacher, vocalist and one of the organizers of "Alpenglow" tells the story.

"We did "Seussical," [the musical] it ended on a Sunday night," says Bastoni-Rebmann. "Tuesday evening I heard about the Dove contest from Matt Stoker, a performer in the musical, and his mother, Sharon Ball who found the contest on the Internet," she adds. Matt was thrilled about it, asked his "Seussical" cast friends if they would be interested. "He got a good response," says Bastoni-Rebmann. By Wednesday the group, all members of "Seussical" cast except Abby Miller, were gathered. They sang, worked up harmonies, collected props, rehearsed again on Thursday, made the video, submitted and met the deadline, the Sunday right after "Seussical" ended.

It was a whirlwind few days, but Bastoni-Rebmann had lots of help. "Sharon and I went out and collected props along the Christmas theme because that's what the Rockettes would be performing," she says. Aimee Frechette donated her living room. "Aimee moved her family out for two hours. She has a big living room, a fireplace and cozy environment," says Bastoni-Rebmann. "Sharon got schnitzel and noodles to create the spirit," she adds. The costumes were pajamas.

The rules of the contest require that the contestants sing the compete lyrics to a legitimate version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "My Favorite Things" from the Sound of Music. All video entries must include three to ten people ages 13 and up. "Alpenglow's" members range in age from 14 to 18 years and include Liam Van Rossum, Mae Van Rossum, Emilie Jensen, Matt Stoker, Abby Miller and Taylor Hill.

Keith Force recorded the video. Floyd Carson was the accompanist. Max Belkin supplied the camera. All are members of the theater community.

There's another exciting piece to the contest. Not only do the winners get to open up for the Rockettes, they get to enjoy a video musical mentoring session with Idina Menzel, a singer songwriter and actress who is spokesperson for the Dove contest. Menzel has appeared on Broadway and has just joined he cast of the television program "Glee."

"Idina is a big deal," says Bastoni-Rebmann. Alpenglow had a sneak preview of Idina Menzel via a Skype call last Wednesday evening. "The kids were at my house waiting for the call, there was a flurry of energy," she says. Menzel told the group that they did a whole different take and it is magical when a group gets together and performs. She also told the group that if Mary is their teacher: "Keep her, don't ever let her go." Bastoni-Rebmann credits "Alpenglow." "They have all the parts that make for performers. They get it, they stand tall," she says.

Bastoni-Rebmann has her own enthusiasm and energy. "I work with all levels, I love working with people that want to do it, you have to work very hard. I am passionate about what I do. I want these kids to soar," she says.

They are on their way. Now that "Alpenglow" made it into the final four, more work begins: Getting the vote. "This is like American Idol contest, the judges decide the finalists and then the public calls in votes, but here you vote online," says Bastoni-Rebmann. "We have been living on Facebook, hustling," she adds.

The community support has been huge. "The community has been fantastic in their support. I am so grateful. We are neck in neck with five music theater majors from Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colorado," says Bastoni-Rebmann. She adds that voting is quick and easy, takes about 30 seconds. Just go to www.dovesing4all.com and vote, last day for voting is Dec. 20. Bastoni-Rebman who teaches at University of Southern Maine has engaged her community. Nora Mulkern-Bean posted on Facebook that last Saturday evening that she has many random (not seen before) Shannon Door customers now voting. Staff gave out pieces of paper at the restaurant explaining how to vote. People were very willing, she added. You can vote once a day. As of press time, votes were Alpenglow 3633, Mesa State College 3336. It is a close race.

If "Alpenglow" wins, Dove will fly everyone to New York City, provide hotel rooms for two nights and each member of the group will receive one hundred and fifty dollars cash. "We would like to eat at Ollie's Noodles in Times Square," says Bastoni-Rebmann. They will also get a tour of Radio City Music Hall.

"This is pretty outstanding and will create memories for a lifetime. They ["Alpenglow"] are so excited," she adds.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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