National Anthem Contest Finalists Named
August 29, 2011
Somerset Medical Center is pleased to announce its finalists for the third annual National Anthem Contest that will grant one lucky winner a chance to sing before 50,000 spectators at the annual Far Hills Race Meeting on October 22nd. The contest will be held at Somerset Medical Center’s Steeplechase Cancer Center, which was named in honor of the Far Hills Race Meeting Association, the medical center’s most generous benefactor.
Last year, local talent Marie Fosket, of Basking Ridge, NJ, was awarded the opportunity to sing the Star Spangled Banner at the 2010 Race Meeting, based on her written application and superb vocal rendition of the National Anthem. Fosket was chosen among 17 finalists to sing the National Anthem which she sang in honor of her aunt Mary Reynolds, who died of cancer.
This year’s finalists include:
Catherine Kelly, 16, of Basking Ridge plans on dedicating her performance of the National Anthem at the Far Hills Race in honor of her choir conductor who created a new outlook in life for her and encourages her to do her best with everything she does. Kelly has participated in chorus and musicals.
Rachel Goldman, 13, of Basking Ridge will dedicate her performance of the National Anthem at the Far Hills Race in memory of her great aunt who passed away from breast cancer as well as her best friend who was in a car accident. Goldman has participates in her church’s choir and is a member of the N.J. Youth Chorus.
Tracey Sousa, 41, of Bedminster began singing at the age of 16 in rock and roll cover bands and in her church choir. Sousa has many fond childhood memories of attending the Far Hills Race Meeting with her mother, who sadly passed away from heart disease. She will dedicate her performance of the National Anthem to her mother while supporting Somerset Medical Center which provided outstanding care for her mother during her illness.
Emily Herman, 16, of Belle Mead plans on dedicating her performance of the National Anthem at the Far Hills Race Meeting to her father who is a doctor at Somerset Medical Center since he always supported her musical endeavors. Herman has been singing in choir since the second grade, and has been a member of the Princeton girls’ choir for the past seven years.
Ananya Subramaniam, 14, of Bridgewater has been singing since she was five years old. Subramaniam plans on dedicating her performance of the National Anthem at the Far Hills Race Meeting to her aunt who recently passed away from cancer. She admired her aunt’s courage that she displayed throughout her battle with the disease.
Charmie Mehta, 14, of Bridgewater will dedicate her performance of the National Anthem at the Far Hills Race Meeting in honor of her best friend’s mother who is battling breast cancer and in honor of her best friend who keeps a positive outlook on life despite her mother’s condition. Mehta has participated in her school’s musical, chorus, and select choir.
Kim Sekora, 44, of Bridgewater has an extensive background in music including singing in New York theatre productions, doing voice-overs, and singing in groups. Sekora will dedicate her performance of the National Anthem in memory of her mother who passed away from cancer since she always supported her singing career and gave up her time to help her pursue her dream.
This is the second year that Allegra Campbell,16, of Far Hills has been named a finalist in the Somerset Medical Center National Anthem Contest. Campbell’s musical experience includes singing at local games and events in the Peapack Gladstone area. Campbell will dedicate her performance of the National Anthem in honor of her aunt who despite suffering from cancer, continues to be a great role model to her daughter and nieces. Campbell feels it would be a great honor to sing at an event that her family has been attending for many years.
Rachel Johnson, 16, of Florham Park has been involved in music for several years. Johnson belongs to various theatre groups, takes piano and voice lessons, and sang God Bless America for the Staten Island Yankees. In addition, she has performed in her high school’s musicals. Johnson’s parents and grandparents have been attending the Far Hills Race Meeting for over 30 years and hold spot #1 as a great family tradition. She will dedicate her performance of the National Anthem in honor of her grandmother who passed away from cancer.
Rachel Coburn, 25, of Frenchtown sang in choirs at both her school and church, and has an associate’s degree in music. Working at a cancer center, she sees firsthand what the patients and their families go through every day. She personally lost her grandmother to prostate cancer, and her mother is a cancer survivor. Coburn plans on dedicating her performance of the National Anthem in honor of cancer patients and their families.
June Lewis, 69, of Martinsville has enjoyed singing all of her life and sang in the church choir and family weddings. Lewis has had various family members who suffered from cancer. Lewis plans on dedicating her performance of the National Anthem in honor of her family members who suffered from cancer and her husband and brother who both served in the United States Military.
Montana Janel Byrne, 12, of New Vernon participates in her church choir and has performed with the N.J. Youth Choir at the Mayo Performing Arts Center. Byrne plans on dedicating her performance of the National Anthem to two of her role models, her music director who was diagnosed with lung cancer, and her father who was also diagnosed with cancer.
Carl M. Santiago (as seen standing), 44, of Plainfield has been singing since the first grade. Santiago is currently the baritone section leader and soloist for an Episcopal church in North Plainfield. He plans on dedicating his performance of the National Anthem in memory of his grandparents who always supported his artistic endeavors. In addition, Santiago will dedicate his performance to his grandfather who passed away from spinal cancer.
Debbie Manners Lentine, 62, of Ringoes enjoys singing at weddings and special events in Hunterdon County. While in college, she sang for the university choir. Lentine plans on dedicating her performance of the National Anthem in memory of her father and uncle, a Hunterdon County farmer who owned several thoroughbred race horses that raced at Far Hills years ago. Both men passed away from cancer.
Leanne Weiss, 28, of Riverdale has been involved with singing since middle school. She has participated in many shows while growing up and had the lead role in her high school musical. Weiss plans on dedicating her performance of the National Anthem in memory of her grandfather who passed away from cancer and loved horse racing.
Marjorie Fortin, 51, David Fortin, 26,and Tanya Erdman, 41, of Tamaqua, Pennsylvania are a vocal trio known as I.C.E, In Christ Eternally. Marjorie and her son David are originally from Bayonne, NJ and come from a musical family. I.C.E. performs for many different venues such as nursing homes, variety shows, churches, and even sang the National Anthem on a musical cruise in Pennsylvania. The group has been together for 11 years, and each member has lost a loved one to cancer. The group plans on dedicating their performance in honor of those they have lost as well as pay a tribute to the many veterans they have come across and show that they aren’t forgotten with this undeniably patriotic song.
The competition requires each individual to complete an application and include a brief statement on why he or she would like to sing at the Far Hills Race Meeting. Finalists will advance to participate in a special panel-judged vocal competition on September 27 which will ultimately determine the winner. Judges include Guy Torsilieri and John von Stade, co-chairmen of the Far Hills Race Meeting, Michael Tarentino, owner of Connie’s Music Center in Somerville and the official bugler for the Far Hills Race, Paul Grzella, general manager/editor of the Courier News and Home News Tribune, and Sharon Davis, weekend DJ for Magic 98.3 FM.
This year marks the 91st historic Far Hills Race Meeting, a “must-attend” event of the fall season that combines the height of culinary skill, modern and traditional fashion, top thoroughbred jump racing and joyous camaraderie. Tens of thousands of attendees flock from near and far to participate in a day of entertainment and sport, all while contributing to a worthy cause. For 57 years, The Far Hills Race Meeting has raised money to support the programs and services of Somerset Medical Center, and to help to ensure the residents of central New Jersey are afforded the highest quality healthcare available. To date, The Far Hills Race Meeting has raised over $17 million.
For additional information on the Far Hills Race Meeting, visit www.farhillsrace.org. Also, become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FarHillsRaceMeeting.