WALLINGFORD — Two Sheehan High School students have made it to the top 15 in a national singing competition sponsored by Broadway Records.
“It just so happens that we're best friends and we're from the same town,” one student, Terrence Bogan said. “It’s fun that we’re both in it together.”
Bogan, 18, and Emma Connors, 17, entered the competition on a whim after their music director suggested it in early May.
From about 1,600 entries, both were selected for the top 25 at first, then the top 15, and now wait to find out if they made the top 10 this Thursday during a live Facebook event where judges give each contestant feedback.
“The reason that we're in the top 25 is because our community has voted for us and it’s not like just based on if they like you or not,” Connors said. “That's crazy that so many people voted for us ... even people that I don't even know.”
Both students said they were surprised to make it this far and love the experience of doing it together. Throughout the whole process, the two will suggest song picks for each other and share their funny bloopers from filming.
For each stage of the competition, the students have to record themselves singing a musical theater song. Bogan most recently sang “I Didn’t Plan It” from the show “Waitress” and Connors sang “If I Didn’t Believe in You” from “The Last 5 Years.”
“Even if neither of us win it’s still cool that we made it this far,” Connors said.
Paige Sperry, the choral and spring musical director at Sheehan, said it’s no surprise Connors and Bogan have been successful in this competition.
“They’re both amazingly gifted,” Sperry said. “I’m very proud of them … They went and decided they wanted to do this and it’s great for them.”
She said for Bogan to sound like he does is uncommon for his age, and he’s shown he gets the acting part of it too.
As a vocalist herself, Sperry said listening to Connors sing you think it just can’t be natural, because “she’s just that good.”
Bogan started in musical theater in seventh grade after transferring from a school in New Haven. He said performing on stage is a completely unique experience.
“It’s a different feeling when you're up on stage in front of hundreds of people and just doing your thing,” he said. “You feel good but you're also making other people feel good.”
Connors agreed, saying you feel really good about yourself and it’s a lot of fun when you’re surrounded by your friends.
For her, theater “just clicked” at an early age. She started performing in first grade, as a mouse in a production of “Cinderella.”
Both had roles in their spring musical this year, “Catch Me if You Can,” which was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The students still hope to perform the show later in the summer, or maybe virtually.
Bogan plans to attend Trinity College in Hartford this fall, majoring in neuroscience with a minor in Spanish. He will also play football and plans to participate in the school’s theater programs. Connors will enter her senior year at Sheehan High School in the fall.
The winner of the competition gets $1,000 donated to the charity of their choosing, will record a single to be released by Broadway Records— the profits of which will be donated to The Actors Fund— and virtual voice and auditions lessons, among other things. Bogan said he would donate to the Trevor Project, Connors to Feeding America.
To vote, visit Broadway World’s website and search for the Broadway’s Next on Stage high school competition.