Future stars audition for F.A.M.E.

Published 9:47 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Suffolk native Josh Mizzelle got his start performing in Suffolk Parks and Recreation’s F.A.M.E. Showcase. Now, today’s young people can have that same opportunity.

Curtis Rouse, King’s Fork High School student and singer and songwriter, came out on Tuesday to check out the space where he would be auditioning and to schedule a performance time. He will return with his band on Saturday to audition.

“It made a major impact in my life,” Mizzelle said in a February interview with Suffolk News-Herald. “It gave me somewhere to perform and display my talents to the public.”

Mizzelle is a rising star in the national music scene.

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“He was one of those naturally talented people. He was one people were waiting to hear,” said Rickeda Fofana, event chairperson for the F.A.M.E. Showcase Tuesday during the first night of auditions. “It is kind of a big deal for us, him having been here and being where he is now.”

Fofana has been involved in the program for over six years. She said in every interview she has seen, Mizzelle always refers back to his involvement in the Suffolk show.

F.A.M.E. (Future Artists, Musicians and Entertainers) is in its ninth year. This year’s show will take place at Lakeland High School on May 6-7.

The show is all about displaying the talents of artists — including singers, poets, instrumentalists, comedians, pantomimes, visual artists and more.

Students ages 5 to 19 in Suffolk and the surrounding cities who are enrolled in school or being homeschooled may audition. The tryouts are being held Saturday and Thursday.

Students can call ahead to schedule an appointment or sign up on the day of their audition. Students audition before judges while their performance is videotaped.

“We watch all of the auditions as a committee and make the final selections of who will be in the show,” Fofana said.

Traditionally, students wait until the last minute to audition, Fofana said. But this year, Suffolk Parks and Recreation got the word out sooner so participants could plan ahead.

Even so, during the first two hours allotted for auditions on Tuesday, only three students came out to audition. One played the clarinet, another sung “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” while another acted out a poem.

There will be long lines to audition on the last night, Fofana said. She encourages students to come out before then.

The entry fee to perform in the F.A.M.E. Showcase is $5. All of the proceeds go toward a scholarship for Suffolk seniors. Last year, the show was able to fund two scholarships at $2,400 a piece.

Judges will pare down the number of applicants to 22 performers, but they will also accept visual artwork entries to display during the show.

Auditions will be held at the East Suffolk Recreation Center on South Sixth Street on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. and Thursday, March 17 from 5 to 8 p.m. For more information or to schedule an audition, contact Rickeda Fofana at 514-4509.