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Special Talents America seeks applicants by July 27 for fall showcase at Wentz Concert Hall


Special Talents America organizers are reminding people with disabilities that the July 27 deadline for audition applications and audio-visual submissions is fast approaching for a four-state talent competition that will be held this fall in Naperville.

“We have received numerous calls and e-mails from people who are preparing A/V tapes or YouTube videos to submit to Special Talents America,” said Jorie Meyer of the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA), one of the sponsors of the event. “We want to encourage talented people with disabilities who live in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, or Wisconsin to visit our website and consider entering this exciting, unique competition.”

Organizers said www.specialtalents.org has information about the competition and how to submit audition information and A/V materials.  The Web site also includes video clips from a statewide competition the group hosted in 2010.

“If anyone has questions about the competition or audition process, they can contact me at WDSRA,” added Meyer.

Staff will review each submission and narrow the field to 15 semi-finalists based on performance mastery, ability to engage the audience, use of props if necessary, confidence in front of a camera, and costume/appearance. The top 15 contestants will be invited to audition live in front of three judges from Special Talents America.

Eight finalists will perform at the November 5, 2012 competition, which will be held at Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center on the campus of North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. Finalists will perform on the main stage of the beautiful concert hall before a live audience. Celebrity guests and judges will also be part of the evening’s excitement.

Lisa McClowry, International Vocalist of the Year nominee, will emcee the program and perform two of her recordings, “Brand New Hallelujah” and “Come Dancing.” Guest performer Fergie Frederiksen of Toto and Trillion fame will thrill the audience with “Follow Your Heart” and “Rosanna.” The names of other celebrity judges and guest performers will be announced at a later date.

“This will be an inspiring and exciting event for everyone,” said Meyer. “There are so many people with disabilities who have wonderful talents to share. This is an opportunity to showcase them and reward them for following their dreams.”

To  support Special Talents America, several levels of sponsorship are available.  Visit www.specialtalents.org or call Rosie Sajak at (630) 849-3219 for sponsorship information. Tax-deductible donations may be made to “Western DuPage Special Recreation Association – Attn: Special Talents America.” WDSRA is a 501 (c) (3) organization, located at 116 N. Schmale Road, Carol Stream, IL 60188-2103.

For more information about the event and audition forms, visit www.specialtalents.org or contact Jorie Meyer at WDSRA at ( 630) 681-0962, ext. 136.

Special Talents America volunteers, including JIM GARTLAND (left), songwriter/performing artist LISA MCCLOWRY, and Grammy-award-winner JIM PETERIK  met at Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center in early July to begin planning the staging for the Special Talents America competition, which will be held at the concert hall on November 5. Peterik, who was a judge and guest performer at a similar statewide event in 2010, has been a strong supporter of the competition and is helping to organize the Special Talents America four-state competition.

Photo courtesy Jini Clare



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