Furman Middle School students and choral group members Taylor Gooden and Quinn Welsh have got talent, and it will be on display today in Savannah, Georgia, when they both audition for the hit TV show "America's Got Talent."
On Friday, Furman held …
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On Friday, Furman held a surprise sendoff for Taylor and Quinn in the school's gym. Everybody knew of the special assembly - except, of course, the two 12-year-olds.
About 300 seventh- and eighth-graders and the two students' families were on hand for the morning assembly.
School staff led Taylor and Quinn into the gym amid cheers and applause. Both said they were stunned by the gathering and show of support.
As part of the assembly, both performed their solo audition pieces, which they will sing today.
Taylor sang Alicia Keys' contemporary R&B hit "No One" before Quinn followed on the keyboard and sang Lady Gaga's "Honest Eyes."
Taylor and Quinn said at least 1,000 contestants from multiple states will be performing at the Savannah audition. Other audition sites this month and in December include Orlando, Houston and New York, according to the show's website. About 200 top audition performers from across the country will make it on the NBC summer competition series. Today's audition will not be televised, but Quinn said some portions of the auditions may appear on the show's YouTube channel online.
Linda Beck, Furman's choral director, organized and planned Friday's send-off celebration. Beck is in her 23rd year at the school, and about 20 percent of Furman's student body takes chorus under her tutelage, according to Principal Mike Riggins.
According to her mother, Laura Entwisle, Taylor has been singing since she was 5 or 6 years old.
Taylor said Beck is an energetic teacher and has given her numerous tips on singing and correct posture and gestures for auditions.
Quinn has been singing since he was 4, his mom, Heather Welsh, said.
He is self-taught on the keyboard in the last year and said Beck has influenced him in many ways.
"When Ms. Beck started to play the piano when we would sing, it was so awesome, and it inspired me to play the keyboard," Quinn said. "I've learned and taught myself, and I play by ear now."
Beck said she felt Friday's assembly was important to recognize the two seventh-graders and their accomplishments.
She said she enjoys seeing all her students develop their talents in chorus.
"It is a beautiful thing to watch, hear and see their talent developing," Beck said. "We don't get paid a whole lot, but - by gosh - that's the payment right there. It's a true blessing."
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