LATHAM, N.Y.>> Local artists auditioned for their moment in the spotlight over the weekend, ahead of one upcoming local televised event.
Auditions were held Sunday afternoon at the Holiday Inn Express in Latham for a chance to perform as part of the 57th annual Center for Disability Services Telethon.
Producers were seeking talent to highlight during the seven-hour live telethon broadcast, which will take place on Sunday, Jan. 29 at the Radisson Hotel in Albany.
The event is the largest yearly fundraiser for the Center for Disability Services, a 75-year-old organization that provides care for individuals with disabilities and chronic medical conditions in the Capital Region.
Musicians attended from all over the Capital Region in hopes of filling more than a dozen telethon slots that run between inspirational stories and requests for donations.
“I do this as a give-back,” said guitarist and singer Darryl Daily of North Greenbush, who has been on the telethon twice before. “It’s a good cause. It’s something I like to give back to, and it’s fun to do,” he said, before singing a Foy Vance cover for the judges.
Another returning performer was musician and Center for Disability Service consumer John Schwartz of Ballston Lake, who has previously been on the telethon about seven times. This year, he played “Imagine” by John Lennon for the judges. On why he enjoys being part of a telethon, Schwartz said, “Everyone gets to express their gifts and talents that they have to offer.”
First-time auditioner Katie Louise, 19, of Halfmoon performed her rendition of the popular tune “Fight Song” on Sunday. “The song that I chose, I think it can really move people,” she said, adding that she hopes it can help with bringing in donations that will eventually change lives.
One of the most energetic performers on Sunday’s schedule was returning act Donald Hyman of Albany.
“I feel that if you have a gift, you can use it to help someone,” the singer said. Hyman also recently performed at a holiday party for the Center for Disability Services. He added, “It means a lot to me that I can do this.”
One of the younger performers to audition was 16-year-old Phoebe Reuther of Wynantskill, who delivered a performance of Prince’s hit “Purple Rain.” The teenager was also on last year’s telethon, and had a memorable experience.
“I felt like I was supporting a great cause by performing and having fun,” she said.
Other auditioners came from as far as Queensbury, Glenmont and Schenectady to try out for their chance to be on television later this month, as well as aid in raising money for the local nonprofit.
This year, the center’s goal is to raise more than $2 million and exceed last year’s total of $2,055,017.
That money goes to continue the center’s programming, which serves more than than 15,000 individuals – newborns to seniors – and their families at 85 locations throughout nine counties in upstate New York.
With telethon day less than three weeks away, the staff of the Center for Disability Services is gearing up for the big event.
“It’s a very, very exciting day for the center, especially for the people we serve and their families,” said Anne Schneider Costigan, deputy executive director of the Center for Disability Services. “It’s a day that we take great pride in, and it’s also a day to thank our community and show the community what they’ve built for so many years. It’s really this community that we depend on to really continue to build our programs and services.”
Schneider Costigan also served as one of the judges at Sunday’s auditions.
“The level of talent in the Capital Region is truly amazing,” she said after hearing a slate of the performers. “We continue to be wowed every year.”
The 57th annual Center for Disability Services Telethon broadcast will air from noon to 7 p.m. on Jan. 29 on Fox 23 – NEWS10 ABC.
For more information about the Center for Disability Services visit www.cfdsny.org.