The Garden of Dreams Foundation featuring some amazingly talented kids was set to perform in the annual Talent Show, which would have taken place today, April 7, 2020.
Each year Radio City hosts more than 100 children from the Garden of Dreams Foundation, which is MSG’s non-profit charity that helps children that are facing obstacles from sickness to homelessness and poverty. This year, the Talent Show has been postponed, but we are still keeping the spirit of the show alive for these children by hosting virtual rehearsals and finding ways to keep them engaged from home.
One of the virtual Talent Show rehearsals took place with Broadway’s Christina Sajous, who’s credits including Spongebob Squarepants, Spider Man: Turn off the Dark, American Idiot, Baby It’s You!, and Holler If Ya Hear Me. Christina led her virtual rehearsal for four of the Talent Show kids, providing feedback and encouragement via video conference to perform monologues and songs.
Diamond Melody Parker (18); Harlem, NYPerformance: Singing “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman. Diamond started singing when she would mimic other singers on TV or the radio. When she started to notice other people’s reactions to her singing, she realized her talent. In elementary school, Diamond was the victim of bullying, which resulted in her leaving school and being home schooled. Diamond, who lives in a shelter currently,credits the support of her parents and family for giving her the confidence to believe in and stand up for herself. Diamond’s dream is to become a singer and veterinarian when she grows up.
Jordan James (11); Manhattan, NYPerformance: Singing“Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing” by Stevie WonderJordan began singing when she was 5 years old and chose to sing “Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing” for its positive message and upbeat melody. Really enjoying performing for others, Jordan recently auditioned for The Lion King on Broadway. Jordan shared that one of her most difficult times was when her brother passed away. Her family also just moved out of a shelter into more permanent housing.
Alexandra Paladino (12); Wantagh, NYPerformance: Singing “A Million Dreams” Alexandra was born with Genu Valgum or “Knock Knee” condition, which has required her to have corrective surgeries. However, her initial surgeries did not work and her condition came back. Alexandra will need to have more surgeries and PT in the near future. Adopted at birth, Alexandra credits the support of her parents and being positive as crucial in helping her overcome these challenges. Recently, Alexandra’s family home burned down so their family isworking throughtheir next steps. Alexandra is singing “A Million Dreams”, because it gives her inspiration and motivates her to keep going when things are tough.
Christian Fletcher (12); Manhattan, NYPerformance: Monologue “Star Wars: The Discovery”At 7 days old, Christian was diagnosed with sickle cell disease, which has caused him pain that is triggered in his hips and legs, sometimes making it necessary for him to use a wheelchair. To manage the pain, Christian will go regularly to a clinic.Christian recently had his wish to get acting tips from Will Smith fulfilled, when the met the star on the red carpet of the Aladdinpremiere. In 4thgrade, Christian started singing in his school’s choir and then in 6thgrade performed in his first play, which sparked his interest in acting and drama. When he grows up, Christian wants to be an A-list actorand singer
This video shows a number from the Garden of Dreams alumni who joined forces to virtually perform a group rendition of Andra Day’s “Rise Up.” The song itself is so moving as we know it, and the backstories of the performers whose lives have since been changed make the clip even more poignant.