Bearing such telltale items as musical instruments and sheet music, folks came to Mount Airy from near and far Wednesday afternoon all seeking the same thing — a chance at stardom.
The Old-Time Music Heritage Hall at the Surry Arts Council was a busy place as people lined up there to register for auditions they hoped would land them a spot on “Showville.”
It is a reality television series being produced for the AMC cable network in Mount Airy and seven other cities, which will focus on what happens when talent shows are held in small towns.
Open-call auditions were scheduled Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m., after which four people were to be chosen for final competition Saturday night and the chance to win a $10,000 cash prize as chosen by the audience.
By about 4:15 p.m., about 20 people already had showed up to register at the heritage hall, ahead of the auditions on the stage of the Andy Griffith Playhouse nearby. A camera crew stood by to record scenes during the preliminary event which presumably will be part of the “Showville” broadcast next spring on AMC, with a one-hour episode devoted to each city involved.
Gavin Green, a singer from Mount Airy, seemed to reflect the goals of many of the anxious performers as they waited their turn in line to sign up and later audition before judges.
“Just to do as good as I can,” was the goal of Green, who planned to sing “Amazing Grace.”
“I hope I can make it to the finals,” the vocalist added.
Zach Hall, lugging a guitar case, journeyed from his home in Winston-Salem after learning the auditions would be held here. “I hope to get on the show,” Hall said enthusiastically.
Musical performers Wednesday had the choice of using original material or music from the public domain, to ensure no copyright violations on the part of the program’s producers.
Hall planned to render an original composition titled “Empires Fall,” explaining that it concerns the parallels behind a crumbling personal relationship and that of an empire.
While he had set his sights high, Hall, 31, who has played the guitar since age 14, was just looking forward to the experience Wednesday’s auditions offered — even if he didn’t emerge as a finalist or talent show winner.
“Barring that, I hope to hear some good competitors and play in front of them and just enjoy the experience.”
Shawn Brady of Mount Airy came to the auditions with an unofficial “manager,” Bill Clark, to provide moral support.
“I’m going to sing two songs,” Brady said excitedly, adding that they were ones popularized by Keith Whitley, an iconic country music performer who enjoyed a brief career before dying in 1989.
The sign-up process took about five minutes for each person planning to audition, who was required to submit various documents completed in advance. The performers also were asked questions such as whether they knew someone involved with the production, to avoid a conflict of interest, or planned to use copyrighted material, to circumvent litigation.
Wednesday’s four finalists will be professionally coached leading up to Saturday’s community talent show at 6 p.m., with the events along the way to be included in the reality TV show.
It will focus on the drama surrounding the quest for fame by performers from all walks of life.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.