Englewood Idol 2019
Genesis Capellan Earns the Crown at Englewood Idol 2019
Genesis Capellan Earns the Crown at Englewood Idol 2019
Dwight Morrow High School senior Genesis Capellan stole the show at Englewood Idol 2019 with her heart-piercing renditions of “Never Enough” and “My Heart Will Go On,” to earn the crown as this year’s Englewood Idol. Flanked by 1st Runner Up, Dwight Morrow High School senior Patricia Parker, and 2nd Runner Up, Dwight-Englewood senior Lena Graf, Genesis was surrounded by the cast as they danced alongside her as she proudly donned the Idol sash and crown for her final song.
Englewood Idol Finalists Auhjen Upshaw, a sophomore at Dwight Morrow High School, and Lamyra Newton, a senior, were joined on stage by Semi-Finalists Angelica Munoz, a sophomore in the Academies@ Englewood program, Savannah George and Donna Gad, a sophomore and freshman respectively at Dwight Morrow High School, and Maggie Colquitt, a junior from Dwight-Englewood.
Held on the elegant stage of BergenPAC on Friday, January 11, at 7:00 pm, this 14th Season of Englewood Idol also featured younger performers, for what has been billed the show’s first “Little Idil” Competition. Students as young as 7 years old auditioned to perform a song at Englewood Idol. The winners were 7th grade “Junior” Englewood Idol Sophia Chounoune; 5th grade “Mini” Englewood Idol Jandel Rodriguez; and 3rd grade “Micro” Englewood Idol Temple Goldson.
Auditions for the new “Junior,” “Mini,” and “Micro” Idol competitions had taken place in early December with a judges panel comprised of current and former Englewood Idol performers. “We were looking to expand the show by sharing with our audience the talent in Englewood from all levels, so reaching out to students in the younger grades was a natural direction for us,” says Associate Producer and Dwight Morrow High School senior Brianna Christie. “Our current Idols are as talented as they are because they have come through the Englewood public schools, which all have amazing music programs. We want to showcase that.”
Judges for this year’s Englewood Idol show were longtime Englewood Idol judge who gained his fame as a judge on the show “Celebrity Cupcake Wars,” Florian Bellanger; the legendary DJ Wallah from Hot 97; talented contestant from “The Voice,” Josette Diaz; and recording artist from the all-girl trio “Divine” and contestant on “American Idol,” Kia Thornton Miller, who also has a talented daughter who auditioned to be a “Little Idil.”
Judy Aronson, Englewood Idol Producer and founder of the Dr. John Grieco Scholarship Fund, is a History teacher at Dwight Morrow High School / Academies@Englewood. She has been producing this show, alongside show Director and English teacher Mindy Rochman, for 14 years. Both teachers volunteer their time to do this. “I love this show, and I have never even seen American Idol,” says Aronson. “I love the energy backstage and on the stage, and as grueling as it is I love the 4 months of rehearsal that goes into it. I see these kids get on stage in October, many of whom can’t stop shaking and can barely squeeze out a note. By January, they have listened to their cast mates’ advice and forced themselves to try new techniques, and suddenly they are performers.”
Aronson also appreciates their willingness to take chances. “For example, our ensemble song, which is in the middle of the show, has Rap in it. We’ve never performed Rap for this show, and with a nearly all-female cast it was going to be a stretch. At first they said ‘no way’ to the song Stereo Hearts, but then Patty tried a few lines, then Angie chimed in a few more, and before you knew it everyone was totally in. These kids are the definition of bravery. Nothing is off-limits for them.”
A highlight this year has been the student staff that has coordinated the show. “Senior Lance Talton has been such an amazing Musical Director; his patience and problem-solving abilities rival those of anyone I have ever worked with,” says Aronson. “Students discover careers when they work on this show. Our webmaster Daniela Mazzoni; Associate Producer Brianna Christie; Program Editor Kiana Ong; Marketing Team of Khushi Panchal, Krisna Panchal, Emilia Bern and Sarai Crawford; Treasurers Christopher Lee and Alex Ha; videographers Brianny Alvarenga, Cole Rosenthal, Lorenzo Consales, and Sienna Tu; Scholarship Fund board officers Caleb Kim, Gianna, Scarpa, and Rebecca Reyes; these students come up with all sorts of creative ideas and get to test them out on our show – and more often than not, their instincts are right!”
Auditions for Englewood Idol were open to any high school student living in, or attending school in, Englewood. More than 30 students auditioned this year. 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.
“Students, parents, and staff have come to view Englewood Idol as more than a musical competition; it is a giant reunion filled with so many memories. We had more than 30 alumni come to the show, many of whom now work in entertainment, publicity, marketing, web design, fashion design, and film. And they often tell me they got their first taste for a career at Englewood Idol. The show is so much more than what you see on the stage,” says Aronson.
Sponsors from the community continue to proudly display their loyalty to Englewood Idol and the Dr. John Grieco Scholarship Fund by becoming Platinum sponsors, including Englewood Health, Visions Federal Credit Union, Benzel Busch, TD Bank, Health East Medical Associates, and Honda of Tenafly. Gold sponsors are NVE Bank, LG Electronics, Prana Marketing, Shoprite of Englewood, and the Dwight Morrow High School Alumni Educational Alliance. Substantial support for this event has been contributed by the Community Chest, the Northern New Jersey Community Foundation, and BergenPAC. Even the Rehearsal Dinner for the Idols was donated by Englewood’s own Cassie’s Restaurant, Chic-Fil-A, and Blue Moon Mexican Café.
Englewood Idol is a fundraiser for the Dr. John Grieco Scholarship Fund, which awards academic scholarships to Englewood public school students in grades 7 - 12. When all of the money is tallied, students from Dwight Morrow High School / Academies@Englewood hope to have raised at least $10,000 from Englewood Idol. The remaining scholarship money will be raised via grants from the Community Chest and other organizations.
For more details and more photos from the 2019 Englewood Idol, visit www.englewoodidol.com.