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Local talent discovered during Search for the Stars auditions

January 19, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com
  • Josh Hollin, 15, of Hagerstown plays the piano and sings during Search for the Stars auditions held at the Herald-Mail on Saturday.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

After a series of unexpected events in recent weeks, J.D. Slough could put the $1,000 cash prize that is up for grabs in the Search for the Stars talent contest to good use.

His wife, Heather Slough, lost her job last Monday after her company downsized, Slough said.

Compounding matters is the fact that the Boonsboro couple didn’t anticipate having a third child, Slough said Saturday at auditions for the contest sponsored by Herald-Mail Media.

She is 13 weeks pregnant.

Slough, 31, was among nearly 30 people who auditioned Saturday for a shot to win.

A second casting call/audition is scheduled for Feb. 2 from noon to 3 p.m. before judges will determine who will advance to the finals. Those who make the cut will appear on HMTV6 and could win a spot in the live grand finale March 30 at The Maryland Theatre.

Mari Mullane, 14, a freshman at the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in Hagerstown, said she would bank the prize money for college.

The Hagerstown teen performed Irish jig and Phantom of the Opera medleys with her violin Saturday.

“No matter what she does, win or lose, she makes me proud,” said her father, Tom Mullane. “She works very hard at her art.”

Michael Leary, 23, who said he started performing at age 16, performed a rap titled “I Got You” that he wrote himself.

Leary, who goes by the stage name Mal J, said he has performed at clubs in North Carolina, where he had been living until recently, but nowhere “big.”

When asked who inspired him to write the rap, Leary said his wife, who is a Christian artist.

Originally from Mercersburg, Pa., Ellen Wolf sang a portion of “Vaga Luna” by Italian opera composer Vincenzo Bellini.

“For the past several years, I’ve been spending a lot of time in Paris,” said Wolf, a classically trained singer.

Wolf said she decided to enter the contest after coming home on a planned visit that involved doing some work in New York.

Ella Reinhard, 11, said she has been singing since she was a baby, but wants to be a neuroscientist or cardiovascular surgeon when she grows up.

“Singing could be my hobby,” Ella said.

Reinhard’s mother, Jessica Reinhard of Cumberland, Md., said her daughter doesn’t have any vocal training and just likes to sing.

“It was totally her idea,” Jessica Reinhard said.

An aspiring singer and actress, Jessica Snyder, 18, of Frederick, Md., said performing is her “passion.”

Joining Snyder for Saturday’s audition call back were her mother, grandmother and her boyfriend, Ryan Collins, of Hagerstown.

“I don’t know how I got roped into this,” Collins said, smiling.

Judges for the auditions Saturday were Bobb Robinson, who teaches at Shepherd University and is the opera director at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Miss Queen State Audreanna Colombo; and Marsha Knicely, owner of Sagittarius Salon and Spa in Hagerstown.

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