Having been selected as one of 40 Songbook Academy national finalists for the July 16 to 23 summer intensive program at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Lauren Sciaudone figures any singing experience in front of an audience will be a benefit.
“I’m excited for Songbook, but it’s nerve-wracking to have that big of an audience (at the Palladium),” the Westfield resident said. “I’m definitely nervous, so it’s good to have something to do so I get back in the feel of performing since COVID took a lot of that away.”
Thus, Sciaudone, 17, is looking forward to gaining experience through CarmelFest Has Talent. The show is set for noon to 2 p.m. July 3 at the Gazebo stage.
Sciaudone, who will be a Guerin Catholic High School senior in August, finished third in her age category in the 2019 CarmelFest Has Talent competition.
The three categories are 12 and younger, ages 13-16 and 17 and older. Solo performers and groups compete. Instrumental acts also are eligible. Each age category will have 15 finalists performing. The top three finishers in each category will be awarded prizes of $300, $200 and $100.
“I grew up doing a lot of Broadway, so when I’m doing songs, I turn toward Broadway because I feel that suits me,” Sciaudone said.
Audrey Gradle, who will be a fifth-grader at Carmel’s Clay Center Elementary, will compete in the 12-and-younger category. She finished third in the competition last year.
“The best part of competing is watching the other performers, and having fun,” Gradle said. “I love performing in front of large groups, and even if I don’t win, it’s a great opportunity.”
Gradle’s audition song was Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” Her favorite music genre is pop.
“I love Olivia Rodrigo and Taylor Swift,” Gradle said. “Last year’s event taught me that even when you don’t win, it’s still something I want to be a part of to get more experience and exposure performing. Plus, it’s such a fun weekend in Carmel, so I get to do a lot of other things during CarmelFest.”