'Every Child is a Star' auditions set for Saturday
by Marie Nesmith
Jan 18, 2011 | 3582 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A resident at Advocates for Children’s Flowering Branch shelter poses with her saxophone. She is considering auditioning for the “Every Child is a Star” competition with some of her fellow residents Saturday.
Illustration/SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
A resident at Advocates for Children’s Flowering Branch shelter poses with her saxophone. She is considering auditioning for the “Every Child is a Star” competition with some of her fellow residents Saturday. Illustration/SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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In his first year directing and producing "Every Child is a Star," Michael Elzey is encouraging students in kindergarten through 12th grade to support youths assisted by Advocates for Children's programs and services.

If selected to perform in the annual variety show, participants will be able to showcase their talents while raising money for the Cartersville nonprofit. Auditions will be held Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. at Oak Leaf Church, 245 S. Tennessee St. in Cartersville.

"There are those that are in need more than others and I feel that through this show, it's really helping out those that are in need," said Elzey, the show's overall winner -- along with John Russell -- in 2005 and the current conductor for Bartow Winds Concert Band. "The children at [the Flowering Branch Children's] shelter, they need every bit of help that we can provide.

"I feel that just anything we can do to help is benefiting them. That's primarily why I took on the show this year. I've done some work with Advocates -- Bartow Winds has done two concerts so far to benefit Advocates -- and I just really felt that this would be another way for us to help them."

For no charge, each youth needs to perform a two- to three-minute audition, which can range from dancing and singing to puppetry and magic. With this year's theme being "There's no business like show business," all musical offerings need to be selections from movies or Broadway shows. Participants must provide audio for their routines, all of which must be age appropriate.

Five acts will be selected for each category -- primary school, elementary school, middle school, high school and group. Along with bragging rights, each category winner and an overall victor will receive a trophy for their accomplishments.

In addition to providing an avenue to display some of Bartow's brightest young artists, "Every Child is a Star" also emphasizes community service, requiring each contestant to sell at least 10 tickets for $10 each. Last year, the talent show raised about $5,000 for Advocates for Children, which serves about 2,500 area youth each year through the Flowering Branch Children's Center and providing services that assist in the awareness, prevention and treatment of child abuse. Since about 65 percent of Advocates' annual $1.4 million budget is raised by the local community, benefits like "Every Child is a Star" are integral to the nonprofit's success.

"[The proceeds] support the programs right here in Bartow County of Advocates -- the CASA program, the Children's Advocacy Center, Rainbows, First Steps at the hospital and of course Flowering Branch Children's shelter," said Patty Eagar, executive director for Advocates for Children. "There's hardly any state budget left it seems. It costs a lot of money to run all the programs that we do to serve the 2,000-plus kids that we serve every single year and that's a lot of staff, is really what it is. We're in the service-providing business. So we spend by far the most money paying the people who take care of the kids.

"The beauty of 'Every Child's A Star' is not only is it money that's raised locally that stays locally but it's kids helping kids. The kids that are participating know they are not just participating in order to see if they can be a star on the stage but because they are helping kids who they may sit next [to] in class. They're kids just like them who have experienced some awful things."

For more information about auditioning for "Every Child is a Star," contact Advocates by calling 770-387-1143. The talent show will be held March 26 at 7 p.m. at the Woodland High School Performing Arts Center in Cartersville.