LPPACS grad Tyler Kirkland competes for top prize in Campus Superstar competition
March 17, 2010
Rachel Laborsky, Tyler Kirkland and Laci Mosley will compete in the final round of Campus Superstar. (photo credit: Maia Woluchem / Staff Photographer, The Pitt News)
Three Pitt freshmen made it to the final round of the Campus Superstar competition, and they have the chance to steal the spotlight from Carnegie Mellon, which swept the podium last year.
Campus Superstar is a solo-singing competition involving area colleges. The competition began with 156 hopeful singers, but a panel of judges has narrowed that number to the final 10. The event will be hosted by Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh on Sunday at 7 p.m.
The finalists will sing in Sunday's event, which the Hillel website calls "a spectacular, professionally produced show, where performers are accompanied by a full band, with all of the 'glitz' that one would expect from a concert, Broadway show or ... American Idol." The winning performer will receive a cash prize of $5,000, and two runners-up will receive $1,000. Pitt students Tyler Kirkland, Rachel Labosky and Laci Mosley are three contenders to become the next Campus Superstar.
Tyler Kirkland, a freshman actuarial mathematics major, wowed judges with a gospel rendition that earned him a spot in the final 10.
Kirkland, who decided against majoring in music because there "was not enough financial security," has been singing in front of audiences since childhood.
"I sang in the church choir pretty much all my life," Kirkland said.
A strong musical background helped Kirkland in the first round of auditions for Campus Superstar. Kirkland, who learned about the event by fliers and advertisements in the mail, made the first cut despite being slightly sick and running late to work.
"I was thinking, will I be able to do this? I have to go to work," he said.
Kirkland was able to do it, and received an e-mail congratulating him for making it to the semifinals during Christmas break.
Before auditioning for Campus Superstar, Kirkland was active in the music scene at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School. While there, Kirkland participated in shows and musicals, a scholastic career which included earning a memorable role of Hugh Pickering in "My Fair Lady."
Now Kirkland lends his vocals to the Pitt Men's Glee Club. If he wins the $5,000 prize, Kirkland hopes to use the money to fund a summer trip to Europe with the glee club.
Kirkland enjoys singing locally, but he doesn't plan on trying out for national competitions. He said he had talented friends try out for American Idol, but they did not make the cut.
"I don't buy into the whole American Idol thing," Kirkland said.
Pitt freshman Laci Mosley is one of the top-10 solo singers of local universities, but she's a reluctant "superstar."
"I actually don't like singing that much at all," Mosley said.
Mosley, a theater and business major, said acting is her main passion. Although she prefers acting, Mosley works on what she calls a "triple threat" — a combination of acting, singing and dancing — to become a better performer.
"In acting I don't have a problem making a fool out of myself. Singing makes you feel vulnerable. I push myself to do more singing competitions," Mosley said.
Although Mosley said she didn't expect to make it this far, singing has been a part of her life since childhood.
Mosley remembers singing a song about bubbles during church when she was 5. Despite another child having the microphone, Mosley said she took the microphone away from the child in order to sing.
Now, instead of songs about bubbles, Mosley sings with a more R&B style.
Mosley is not a stranger to performing competitions. In her hometown of Terrell, Texas, Mosley participated in many local competitions, and even won a few talent shows.
Mosley said that Campus Superstar is the biggest competition she's participated in.
If she wins, Mosley hopes to use the money to help pay for next year's attendance at Oxford University, although she admits she would like to splurge a little on herself.
"I want to use a little to buy shoes. I have an addiction, you could say," Mosley said.
Rachel Labosky is grateful for her friends. If it were not for their encouragement, Labosky would not have tried out for Campus Superstar — or made it to the top 10.
The Pitt freshman saw the fliers around campus, but said she didn't consider auditioning until her friends pushed her.
"I'm really glad that my friends encouraged me to try out for it. I'm lucky to have made it this far," Labosky said.
While Labosky is a communications major, she would "love to make [music] a professional career."
Labosky's interest in music began in sixth grade, when she started taking vocal lessons. Labosky has since sung in churches, children community theaters and high school choruses.
During her high school career, Labosky played the role of Fanny Brice in a production of the musical "Funny Girl," as well as singing the national anthem for the state football championship at Hersheypark Stadium.
Even though Labosky competed in district and regional musical competitions in high school, she was still nervous for Campus Superstar. Whereas she had experience singing in front of a crowd, Labosky said there is a difference between singing the national anthem and a song of one's choice.
"The national anthem has a guideline of how you have to sing. I get to express myself by choosing what song I'm singing," Labosky said. "The kind of music I'm geared towards is Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys."
Labosky said getting to sing a song of her choice made her "become more comfortable," but this was still her first time auditioning for Campus Superstar.
"I didn't know what to expect. I was kind of nervous," Labosky said.
Despite the nerves, Labosky's rendition of Jennifer Hudson's "Love You I Do," helped her win a spot in the final 10.
Although Labosky could only be one performance away from a $5,000 prize, she hasn't given much thought to winning.
"My parents encourage me to use a lot of it towards school, but I'd also like to splurge it on something special," Labosky said.
The cash prize is a perk of winning, but the money isn't Labosky's main concern.
"I just want it to be something I'm going to remember for a long time," Labosky said.
About Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School
Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School (www.lppacs.org) is a Pennsylvania public school providing a state-approved academic program and pre-professional training for grades 7-12 in music, theater, dance, creative writing, health science arts and media arts. The school enrolls students from more than 65 surrounding school districts.
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