The Telegram
  • Poland student makes on-stage singing debut by winning first place in Abraham House talent show

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  • POLAND — When Poland senior Kaitlan Kelly’s grandfather, James Kelly, heard about a talent show at Mohawk Valley Community College, Kaitlan decided to sign up.
    In what was her first on-stage performance, Kaitlan, 18, won first place in the audience choice category for ages 13-18 in the Abraham House’s third annual Singing Sensations talent show on March 14 at MVCC.
    Her grandfather knew she could put on a good performance.
    “He’s always heard me sing,” she said, noting her family would just overhear her singing on her own. “I was too nervous to ever sing in front of them.”
    Kaitlan Kelly performed not only in front of her family, but the whole talent show audience and judges at MVCC.
    The event raises funds to “help ensure Abraham House’s mission of providing a secure and loving home without charge to the terminally ill,” according to the Abraham House website.
    “I was just happy to do it for that main reason,” she said.
    Kelly grew up in Tennessee and lived in various locations in the south, before moving to this area. She just entered the Poland Central School District this school year and joined the chorus.
    At MVCC, she did a practice performance in front of only a small group of people, and she felt like she messed up several times.
    The actual performance, however, went much better. She sang “My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic” and received a big reaction from the crowd.
    “I just heard a lot of screaming and stuff,” she said.
    The host said something along the lines of, “Wow, you did an amazing job,” she said.
    The judges all said positive things. Even the hardest judge said Kelly seemed nervous because she kept playing with her dress but that it didn’t show in her voice.
    After the performance, she received flowers from a random person, one woman gave her a platter of cookies and others came up to her to tell her the song made them cry or that they thought it sounded better than the original.
    “I was really nervous, so I was just like, ‘Thank you, thank you,’” she said.
    When awards were being determined, everything had been announced except the first place audience vote in her age category, so she was standing on stage thinking she was going to be left out.
    Then, she was announced as the winner.
    “I was really excited,” she said.
    Kelly said she enjoys singing because it’s something she is good at, noting that she doesn’t feel like she’s good at sports.
    “It’s something I can work on and get better and maybe do something with,” she said.
    Page 2 of 2 - She hopes to continue pursuing singing, but she is just looking at it as a backup plan. Her main plan is to open a daycare service, which will require some college, she said.
    Last year, Kelly submitted a video of her singing online to the show “X Factor.” She received a response inviting her to come in and audition, but she decided not to.
    Now, she is planning to submit a video to “X Factor” again and also attend tryouts for “The Voice.”
    The experience of singing at MVCC was helpful for her as she moves forward, she said.
    “I think it got me a little past the stage fear I had,” she said, “and I think next time, I should be able to do better.”
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