Online voting open through Dec. 20
To paraphrase the lyrics to “New York, New York,” if you can make it there, you can make in anywhere and the recently-formed singing group Alpenglow is getting its chance to do just that thanks to a singing contest sponsored by Dove soap.
Alpenglow has been named one of the four finalists in the national Dove Hair Care Brush with Greatness Sing4All contest. If it wins, the group, which formed specifically for the contest, will get to open for the Rockettes at the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular on Dec. 28.
“Sharon Ball came across the Dove Haircare Brush with Greatness contest on the Internet the day after 'Seussical' closed,” said Mary Bastoni-Rebmann, who is part of Alpenglow and was instrumental in forming the group, which drew heavily on the cast of Arts in Motion's production of “Seussical the Musical.”
To enter the contest, Alpenglow had to upload a video of the group singing the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein song, “My Favorite Things.”
“With the support of our parents and friends, we were able to put together our video in less than a week, and produce it with the highest of quality,” said Alpenglow member Emilie Jensen, a senior at Kennett High School in North Conway, N.H.
The group rehearsed quickly over a couple of days and set up a mini production at Amy Frechette's house. Bastoni-Rebmann handled props and costume as well as the choreography with Sharon Ball. Floyd Corson accompanied the group on piano and Keith
Force shot the video with the help of Max Belkin, who provided the camera.
“The making of the video was a whirlwind,” said group member Matt Stoker, a junior at Fryeburg Academy in Fryeburg, Maine. “It's thrilling to know that we pulled together such a fantastic project with so little time. You could see in everyone's eyes while we were working on this video that we wanted to do this 110 percent and with all of our hearts, and I feel that that is what we did.”
Alpenglow consists of Bastoni-Rebmann, Jensen, Stoker, Taylor Hill, a senior at Kennett, twin brother and sister Liam and Mae Van Rossum, eighth graders at Bartlett Elementary School in Bartlett, N.H., and Abby Miller, a sophomore at Kennett and a private voice student of Bastoni-Rebmann for the last two and a half years.
“We rehearsed only two times before we actually filmed the video, and I almost thought that the stress of it all outweighed the actual reward. I was so wrong,” Hill said. “I am so proud of all the hardworking people who helped this come together, and even the other groups, because this was not a very easy task.”
That work clearly paid off as the group made it to the final four and it is now up to online voting to decide who gets to go to New York City. Voting is open through Dec. 20 and can be done daily by anyone with a Facebook account by visiting www.dovesing4all.com.
“I was told by a family friend that we had made the final four,” Mae Van Rossum said “At first I didn't believe her. I was so happy I thought I was going to cry.”
One of the rewards of making the final four was a video conference with Tony-award-winning actress, Idina Menzel, who was in the original casts of “Rent” and “Wicked” and currently has a reoccurring role on “Glee.”
“Idina was so nice and sincere,” Miller said. “She answered all of our questions and laughed at Liam's corny jokes.”
Liam Van Rossum had prepared for the video chat by watching videos of Menzel on YouTube and knew he discovered the perfect question upon watching a video of her as Elphaba, the future Wicked Witch of the West, in “Wicked.”
“When it came time for questions I asked, 'Kermit the Frog once said that it's not easy being green, but you handle it nicely, how do you do so?'” Liam Van Rossum said. “And then it came to a conversation of how annoying green makeup is.”
Menzel was impressed by the “sweet and charismatic” group and advised them to just
to have fun and, if they win, to stay in the moment and not let nerves take them out of themselves.
“I think that they are terrific,” Menzel said. “I heard lots of great voices in there and lots of real raw talent and I think they had some great smiles and they are definitely strong in the personality.”
The members of Alpenglow were thrilled by the opportunity to talk with Menzel and appreciated her openness and advice.
“Meeting with Idina was simply a dream come true as she is one of my idols,” Stoker said. “She was so down to earth and kind and supportive. We all were very relaxed and enjoyed our time with her greatly.”
Stoker and Hill appeared together in Arts in Motion's production of “Rent” this past summer so it seemed only appropriate that Alpenglow sung a song from that show to Menzel.
“They sang 'No Day But Today' for me,” Menzel said. “Which was a real treat because that's my favorite song from the show and I sing that often in my own concerts. They had the harmonies perfectly right.”
Although Menzel can't play favorites, she did enjoy her time talking with members of Alpenglow, which is currently leading in votes but will need help to keep that lead.
“It was a nice way to spend the afternoon because it is inspiring talking to young, really talented people,” Menzel said.