I believe everyone holds a magic wand, but not everyone is willing to use it. On a very sunny, very hot, afternoon, I saw Mr. Phil Collins, yes, THAT Phil Collins, wave his wand and it was a magical sight indeed.
This is a man who has sold over 100 million albums worldwide and here he was at Markee Music Studios, in Deerfield Beach Fl, to personally listen to young kids with musical aspirations to see if he might be able to give them a chance to help pursue their dreams.
First let’s talk about the venue. Markee Music studio is a musicians paradise with 6 high quality fully equipped rehearsal studios, state of the art recording capabilities, 3 sound proof music lesson studios and a “Markee” performance room to make all your jam sessions sound like you are in concert. Their moto “where 1st class treatment is a way of life” is so very true.
Markee became involved with the Little Dreams Foundation last year when they sponsored the 2014 winners. Once a week over the course of several weeks, each child in the program received one on one attention, which involved getting them on the mic, teaching them how to work the mic and helping them to grow in their overall performance. Founder, Keith Ridenour told me he loves to watch the kids sing and believes LDF is providing an amazing opportunity for them. He also offers young hopefuls this advice “Don’t stop dreaming. You are never to young to start performing” To which I add, and “you are never to old to stop.”
Watching the kids fill the studio I could feel both their excitement and anxiety. It was a rainbow of ages, gender, nationalities and fashion choices. Speaking with some of them it became apparent who was in it to win it, while others were there just for the experience. Most of them having no idea the huge opportunity that was being placed before them. After all, the music industry people connected to this charity are major players with the power to open doors that often stay closed for newbies.
One performer, Abby Fletcher, heard about the audition on Facebook and traveled with her mom, Diana, from the Fort Meyers area for her chance to shine. Others had traveled from as far North as Orlando and as far South as Miami.
So this is how the audition process went down. Each performer signs a waiver and then gets their number. Then they sit among all their competitors and wait to be called in. As if that isn’t intimidating enough, once it is their turn at the microphone, mom and dad (and all the rest of the relatives) stay behind while the child goes in alone to stand in front of a panel of complete strangers. Luckily most of them had no idea just how very impressive those judges were. (Phil Collins, David Frangioni, Nick Collins and Orianne Collins)
Each contestant had one minute to showcase their talent. Talk about pressure. Yet these kids were impressively calm, cool and collected standing there in the spotlight singing to the judges while cameras are flashing all around them. As is usually the case, there were more singers than musicians with instruments, but I did spot a few keyboards, a guitar and even a violinist.
Per the Little Dreams Foundation press release… “For the children who are selected from the musical auditions, LDF is offering the chance of a lifetime: a 12-month journey receiving mentorship and lessons to ensure their musical talents continue to flourish and develop.” It simply doesn’t get any better than that.
Everyone knows that all you need in life is one person who believes in you enough to give you one chance. After that it is up to you to see how high you can fly.
Yes, I could definitely feel there was something “In The Air Tonight” as the Little Dreams Foundation tried to help these kids go “Against All Odds” to get their chance to fulfill their dreams. See what I did there 😉
Speaking with Mr. Collins I learned that it was his mom who was the one who believed in him. She was the one who purchased a van for him to get to his gigs. That gave him the chance to get out there to do shows and be seen. To this day she still goes to see him perform. You gotta love that. And you gotta love what he is doing for these kids.