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Triad Idols socialize before final faceoff

by Lee Adams

Twelve-year-old Marques Haynesworth has a voice as silky and smooth as the baggy, black trousers and bright red shirt he was wearing last Thursday at a special Triad Idol party at The Art Shop on Market Street.

Contestants and family members gathered at the gallery for one last hurrah a week and-a-half before the Triad Finals are to take place. If the wine glasses in the paintings on the wall had been real, Marques’ warm, vibrant voice would have surely shattered them as he bellowed out ‘“Somewhere Over the Rainbow.’”

Guests stood packed shoulder to shoulder, offering applause and encouragement to everyone who drew a number and sang. It was a time to let down one’s guard and enjoy good music. Marques will be number 26 in the finals, and he hopes audience members will cast their vote for his number when they get the chance on June 25. Like many other vocalists competing, Marques has a résumé and family support to back him up. He’s been singing since the age of three and currently sings in three choirs at Evangel Fellowship Church where he is a member. His mother, Lisha, acts as his manager and booking agent lining up gigs for him at churches and concert halls across the Triad. Singing is his passion, she insists, and not something she’s forced on him. It is his desire to sing and her pride as a mother that keeps him busy.

But the mothers of those on the children’s side of the competition weren’t the only one’s cheering on their kids.

‘“That’s my baby, that’s my baby,’” said Rosalind Surgeon as she clapped wildly at the end of her 30-year-old daughter’s performance. Her daughter, Tina Patterson, who is competing in the adult group, gave an a cappella performance of Amazing Grace.

Ronté Short, another adult competitor, shook the building’s foundation with a soulful version of ‘“His Eye Is on the Sparrow.’”

How will the judges decide? With so many talented local people singing everything from gospel to pop to country music the judges are going to have a tough time making up their minds Saturday. One thing’s for sure, there’s no William Hung hanging out here.

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