BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Two contestants from Somerville made the final cut in the open auditions held Saturday at Bridgewater Commons Mall to perform the Star-Spangled Banner at TD Bank Ballpark this summer prior to the start of Somerset Patriots baseball games.
More than 80 vocalists and musicians signed up for the auditions, with 13 making the final cut, including vocalist Susan Lanto andsaxaphonist Ian Richard G. Dalida.
The event was originally designed to select ten performers, but due to the talented crop of performers, the Somerset Patriots selected 13 finalists this year.
Those selected selected included vocalists Myrna Lloyd (Somerset), Justin Luckenbaugh (Piscataway), Kayla Fiore & Katie Echols (Scotch Plains, Fanwood), Tanisha Khabe (Florence), Gina Maria Jones (Hackettstown), Grace Amodeo (Dunellen), Brennan Scott (Denville), Amanda Abbruzze (Hillsborough), Josh Zagare (Bridgewater), and Nicole Anderson (Hillsborough).
Also chosen by the judges was guitarist Taylor Daniels of Hillsborough.
More than 80 performers had sgned up for the auditions, performing a song of their choice for 90 seconds before the judges and the mall crowd. Singers were judged on vocal talent, stage presence, and their ability to perform before a large crowd.
For the eighth year in a row, the event was a fundraiser and each contestant donated a minimum of $10 to Operation Shoebox New Jersey, an all-volunteer organization dedicated to collecting donated supplies to ship care packages to U.S. troops based overseas.
Magic 98.3 FM and WCTC 1450 AM’s Racquel Williams served as the emcee of the event. The judges were Somerset Patriots Director of Marketing Hal Hansen, long-time National Anthem singer for the team Tess Giardina, and past audition winner Paul Voorhees.
This was the 17th year the Patriots hosted National Anthem auditions.
“We want to thank all of our participants that tried out this year. We had tremendous performers that made it very difficult for the judges to choose,” said Marc Russinoff, Somerset Patriots vice president of Public Relations. "We can’t wait to give these great performers a chance to perform at the ballpark.”
The Somerset Patriots 2020 season opens Friday, May 1st at TD Bank Ballpark. Tickets are now on sale for all 72 home games. Stay up to date on all the team news throughout the offseason online; on all of our social media platforms, and on our mobile app. For more information, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.