Feature stories

Queens students in the spotlight as school stages American Pop Idol

Some stars are born

 Some stars are born - 2Miller PhotographyAdrian nails "Moves Like Jagger," which wins him first place.

Some talented and brave students at PS/IS 295 in Queens Village have had an “American Idol” experience at their school.

It all began with a 30-second a cappella audition and ended in an “American Pop Idol” show for the finalists, modeled after the popular TV show and hosted as a fundraiser at the school on March 23.

Teacher Kristen Remini, formerly a production assistant at Lincoln Center, contacted the company American Pop Idol, which built a stage and brought in a sound system, screens and professional lighting that are “phenomenal, about a million dollars worth of equipment,” she said.

She would know, having worked with performers ranging from Paul Newman to Itzhak Perlman, Beverly Sills, Tony Bennett and Wynton Marsalis.

“I bring these experiences to my classroom,” Remini said. “I tell my students that the class is a stage and if you can conceive it in your mind, you can achieve it.”

The audition was open to any student in the 5th through 8th grades who wanted to perform, and the response was overwhelming.

“Kids were just over the moon; being in the spotlight is something they will remember forever,” Remini said.

She noted that it boosted self-confidence and self-esteem for many, and helped some to overcome their stage fright.

Acting PTA President Shawn Yon said that students were “super excited, and it was a great show with a great turnout. You could see the excitement in their eyes and their parents’ and families’ eyes when they see their children up on the big screen. It was a huge rush!”

The response was so overwhelming that they are hoping the show can be expanded to include 3rd- and 4th-graders next year.

“The younger students and their parents were begging us to please let their children perform, too,” Yon said. “We have some talented students in our school, and this is a great place to showcase their talents.”

Colleen O'Connell,  Barbara Levy, Michelle Yon, Shawn YonMiller PhotographyVolunteering at the snack stand before the performance are (from left) guidance counselor Colleen O'Connell, secretary Barbara Levy and parent Michelle Yon and Acting PTA President Shawn Yon with their son.

Jennifer Labella, Melissa Cody, Kristen Remini, Gene Hendriksen, Dennis FeldmanMiller PhotographySelling tickets before the performance are (seated from left) kindergarten teacher Jennifer Labella and library media specialist Melissa Cody and (standing from left) teacher Kristen Remini, the show's producer, with Gene Hendriksen and Dennis Feldman of the American Pop Idol company.

Some stars are bornMiller Photography(Left) Mya takes second place with "It Will Rain." (Right) Nadia sings "Listen" and takes home third place.

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