Englewood Idol to feature performers, celebrity judges

This year’s Englewood Idol fundraiser will be held on Thursday, Jan. 18 at bergenPAC. Photo courtesy Prana Marketing & Media Relations

ENGLEWOOD, N.J. —— Talented teen vocalists from Englewood will grace the stage of bergenPAC on Thursday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. in the 13th annual Englewood Idol competition. The theme for this year’s show is planets and outer space, and this year’s contestants have taken the talent to new heights.

Celebrity judges are smash-hit recording artist Jay Sean, R& B singer and model Thara Natalie, famed “Cupcake Wars” judge Florian Bellanger, the first crowned Englewood Idol and current singer-songwriter Tyrell Bell, and 2009 Englewood Idol semi-finalist Brianna Peterson.

Englewood Idol is a fundraiser for the Dr. John Grieco Scholarship Fund. Students once again hope to raise at least $10,000 through this event, which is expected to top last year’s attendance record of more than 1,300 fans. Funds raised by the Dr. John Grieco Scholarship Fund are awarded as academic scholarships to Englewood public school students in grades 7-12.

Englewood Idol 2018 will feature 12 contestants, all students from the city’s high school programs: Dwight Morrow High School, The Dwight-Englewood School and the Academies@Englewood. This year’s Englewood Idol contestants are Alexis Oliver, Le’Keil Herring, Gabriela Arango, Zion McGill, Diondra Curtis, Andrew Jones, Deirdre Riggsbee, Joey Liberti, Patricia Parker, Tiffany Moon, Sarah Dubon and Lily Waxman.

The show will also feature “Englewood’s Best Dance Crew,” a competition among Englewood’s high school-age dancers. Dwight-Englewood English teacher and Dance Club Advisor Vicky Frankel lends her choreographic talents to this competition, along with a host of talented dancers from each of the schools.

Community support of Englewood Idol has been as strong as ever, with Platinum Level sponsors Englewood Hospital & Medical Center, Benzel-Busch Motor Car, Visions Federal Credit Union, Honda of Tenafly, Health East Medical Center, Otterstedt Insurance Agency, TD Bank, and Prana Marketing. Gold Level sponsors include Shoprite and O. DiBella Music. In addition, the Dr. John Grieco Scholarship Fund receives generous support from its community partners bergenPAC, The Community Chest serving Englewood, Tenafly and Englewood Cliffs, and Northern New Jersey Community Foundation and Arts Bergen.

Auditions for Englewood Idol were open to any high school student living in or attending school in Englewood or Englewood Cliffs. More than 30 students auditioned this year for just 12 spots. The show is the largest annual fundraiser for the Dr. John Grieco Scholarship Fund, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit charity run by students at DMHS and A@E. The late Dr. John Grieco, after whom the scholarship fund was named, spearheaded the creation of the Academies@Englewood program as well as other initiatives bringing educational reform and greater opportunities for students in the Englewood Public School District.

According to Judy Aronson, faculty advisor of the Dr. John Grieco Scholarship Fund, “Students, parents and staff have come to view Englewood Idol as more than a musical competition; it is an expression of so many of the values that Dr. John Grieco stood for,” citing how it helps Englewood’s high school students connect on a different level, outside of the classroom, showing a commitment to a show that they love.

New to this year’s merchandise line are trendy “dad hats” in a variety of colors, featuring a new student-designed Englewood Idol logo ($12). In addition, the classic black, white and silver Englewood Idol T-shirt, designed by DMHS senior Sandra Zapata, has been printed in glow-in-the-dark ink, to showcase this year’s “outer space” theme ($10). A limited number of long-sleeve pink shirts from last year ($20), tie-dye blue Englewood Idol T-shirts ($15), and Englewood Idol sweatpants ($25) will also be available, while supplies last.

Tickets to Englewood Idol can be purchased in the main office of Dwight Morrow High School. Advance tickets are $10 for students/senior citizens and $12 for adults. Tickets will be for sale at bergenPAC only after 5 p.m. on Jan. 18 at $12 for students/senior citizens and $15 for adults. Those interested in purchasing tickets or merchandise, or wishing to sponsor this event, can call (201) 294-0725, email jaronson@epsd.org or visit the student-designed website www.englewoodidol.com.