Teen Idol winner 'meant' to perform

May 07, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - At 3 years old, Lawren Hill would end little performances for friends and family by demanding applause.

At least, the 18-year-old said, that's what her mother claims.

This fall, Hill will try to win her spot in the limelight of "American Idol."

As the winner of the Washington County Teen Idol contest Saturday night at The Maryland Theatre, Hill will enjoy an all expenses-paid trip to tryouts in New York in November.

"It's always been my passion since I was about like 3," said Hill, who spoke by phone late Sunday after a performance with the Shepherd University Masterworks Chorale.

Hill said she fell in love with classical music at her grandfather's house, where she first heard a recording of the opera, "Carmen." She also had an early introduction to "The Phantom of the Opera."


"I used to dance around in their living room to the overture of Carmen," Hill said.

With her classical training, Hill said Saturday night's performance was a departure. She sang "At Last" by Etta James and "Magic Man" by Heart.

"I wanted to choose something that was classy but at the same I wanted something that was fun, that I could really let loose with," Hill said.

Hill said she graduated in January from North Hagerstown High School, and she will begin classes in the fall on a full vocal-music scholarship to Shepherd University.

While she's spending her time away from the classroom studying for upcoming Advanced Placement exams, Hill made it clear that her main focus has always been music.

Hill said her iPod is her "favorite possession." The device's memory is devoted to classical music and indie tracks "that nobody has ever heard of, " she said.

She enjoys teaching performance skills to youths at the Boys & Girls Club of Washington County, and she also performs for seniors at nursing homes.

"Performing at nursing homes and knowing that you are bringing joy to the people there is something that you can not even explain," said Hill, who also has performed in musicals.

Even caustic judge Simon Cowell might not be able to scoff at Hill's love.

"My director at Masterworks tonight said it the best: I do it because I'm meant to do it," Hill said.

Teen Idol photos

For more photos from Saturday's Teen Idol competition at The Maryland Theatre, go to and click on the Teen Idol link.

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