Hollywood came to campus recently. Ten UNC Greensboro students performed for America’s Got Talent (AGT) producers to display their performance abilities in dance, voice, comedy and beatboxing, in a first-ever virtual showcase exclusively held for the University. UNCG student group 1aChord paved the way with their successful run on AGT, reaching the semifinals last season.
Lead producer Courtney Harrell – who discovered AGT semifinalists 1aChord – wanted to have a UNCG-exclusive event to capture lightning in a bottle again.
“I knew from my experience with 1aChord that there is something special going on at UNCG,” Harrell told NBC affiliate WXII, who has written, performed and produced such artists as Mary J. Blige, Ariana Grande, and Beyonce, among others.
AGT has held only one other showcase at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.
According to Music Theatre director Dominick Amendum, who coordinated the student participation, the showcase selection by AGT demonstrates the high caliber of UNCG’s programs and student talent.
“We can clearly compete on the national stage with the best programs in the country – the producers have elite backgrounds and know how to identify future stars. Our students can go up against elite programs and shine on one of the most popular talent programs in history. AGT has a 3-billion audience reach.”
The students included Kaitlyn Bryant (vocalist); Aubria Battle (musician/vocalist); Molly Oldham (vocalist); Melissa Lozada (vocalist); Lucas Shields (beatboxer); Tori Lee (stand-up comedian); Ty Gibson (stand-up comedian/sketch/dancer); Ife Winner (Afrobeat/neosoul vocalist); Jalen Davis (dancer); and Cory McIntrye (vocalist).
Each student performed and received feedback from the producers, with UNCG faculty and 1aChord members there to lend their support.
“The experience was thrilling and motivating,” said dance major Jalen Davis. “I’m beyond honored and grateful to be a Spartan for opportunities like UNCG’s partnership with AGT that allowed my talent to be seen on a larger platform! I’m so grateful to the School of Dance faculty for their sculpting and training me as a moving artist.”
Another tryout for AGT will occur on March 5 for the greater Triad community. Once the producers have reviewed all of the potential candidates, they will make contestant recommendations for the next season.
“UNCG and AGT’s partnership made the audition so convenient and accessible for me. The ability to walk down the street from my dorm to meet and perform for AGT producers was such an incredible opportunity, and I’m so grateful. Being able to showcase my talent alongside so many other talented Spartans is not an experience I take for granted.” – Melissa Lozada, freshman psychology major
“Being able to audition for a show like AGT was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and having the experience through UNCG made it really special. UNCG and the theatre department have done such a great job giving students ample chances to further their careers and grow as individuals. I genuinely love being a student here, and I love to perform in any way I can, so having the chance to put myself out there in a really big way with the support and encouragement of my school made an already exciting process a lot more meaningful.” – Molly Oldham, senior musical theatre major
“Words can’t even describe how grateful I am for this opportunity! It made me take a leap of faith that allowed me to blossom into new heights that would have never happened if it wasn’t for this AGT audition session with genuine guidance behind it! Regardless of the outcome, I will forever be thankful for the chance I was given and the help that assisted me in making this chance count! Thank you, AGT, and thank you UNCG, 1aChord, and all the others who had a hand in making this dream in the making come true!” – Ty Gibson, senior theatre major
Story by Eden Bloss, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications