Preliminary rounds for the 5th Annual St. Louis Teen Talent Competition, sponsored by The Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation (FPACF), begin this weekend with 216 young performers from 62 schools and 12 home-schoolers in the bi-state area competing for $30,000 in scholarships and prizes. This weekend's competition will narrow the field from 148 to 35 acts, who will move on to compete in the semi-finals on March 28th at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park. The final 12 acts will perform at The Fox on Friday, April 24. More information can be found here.
One of the young hopefuls is Hera Scher-Zagier, age 17, a senior at Crossroads College Prep, located in the CWE. Hera, whose stage name is "Hera Lynn," has been performing locally since she was 14. Last summer she sang at the Chesterfield Amphitheater and has performed on a couple of occasions at the CWE's Evangeline's Bistro & Music Hall. She said it may seem strange that she is much more comfortable singing before a large audience than in intimate settings, though she loves performing at Evangeline's, where "the sound is great!"
Though a senior at Crossroads, this is Hera's first year attending a traditional school. She enjoyed her years of being home schooled as she could complete her class assignments each day and then work on her music on her own schedule. "I didn't have to wait for someone to catch up," she said. Hera took piano lessons until two years ago and has since been self-taught. She was attracted to Crossroads because they have a great visual and performing arts program. She plans to pursue music in college and has been accepted at Berklee College of Music, where she auditioned last fall.
Hera became aware of the St. Louis Teen Talent Competition when researching Crossroads. A recent graduate, Micah Manaitai Garrido, won the 2011 competition playing the ukelele. Hera Lynn will perform "Hurricane" (see YouTube video above), an original composition she recorded last summer, when she competes this Sunday at Forest Park Community College. She credits her mother (who plays the piano), her father (who loves music), and two brothers for being her biggest support system. She'll certainly pick up a few more fans as this post gets circulated.