The Harbinger Online

Making it Big

Whether it be Broadway or “The Voice” Junior Haley Lynch and freshman Megan Walstrom set high aspirations for themselves in the performing world. Read about their attempts at “Making it Big”.


By Lizzie Kahle

Freshman Megan Walstrom stepped out onto the Starlight stage and stared out at the audience. 7,958 intrigued faces focused on her. Performing in front of thousands of strangers in her sparkling white and blue sailor suit, she had never felt more at home.

“All I could think to myself was ‘Oh my gosh, this is amazing,” Walstrom said.

Walstrom played the role of Louisa, the third eldest child in the Vonn Trapp family, in Starlight’s production of The Sound of Music  two summers ago. At her final callback, she was put on the spot in front of 30 people and was asked to tell them a funny story. This was more nerve-racking than the previous six callbacks of singing and reading lines. They were judging her ability to make them laugh; but her outgoing personality shined, proving to the directors that she deserved the part.

Her director, who also directed Spider-Man on Broadway, ended up forwarding her contact information to one of his connections on Broadway. Thus earning her an audition for their production of Sound of Music. 

“I kept trying out for things and it kept getting bigger and bigger,” said Walstrom. “Once I hit the professional level at Starlight, the next step was Broadway.”

Walstrom woke up at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23 in New York City. In the midst of blizzard Jonas, she managed to make it to her audition early after trudging in the deep snow for blocks. She wore the same red dress she wore to her Starlight audition two years ago; bright and red to catch the judges’ eyes. She sat for two hours in the silent waiting room, unable to practice. Her body fluttered with nerves.

First being measured at 5’1”, then belting out “Do Re Mi” in front of the directors, she was thanked and left. After nailing her audition, she found out she was half an inch too tall for the role of Louisa.

After the audition was over, Walstrom was happy with her performance and accepting of not getting the part. When she stepped on that Broadway stage, she knew she would be back again. It was important for Walstrom to gain Broadway experience, for she plans on meeting with an agent in New York in March who specializes in helping young actors and actresses reach their goals.

“Broadway is my ultimate dream,” said Walstrom. “I know it’s a long shot, but it would be worth it.”



By Marti Fromm

Ten. That’s the number of contenders lined up against each of the four walls in the dark grey room sitting in front of a producer. Each contestant had high hopes to getting the red card, the card that would indicate an advancement to the next audition.

Junior Haley Lynch decided to try out for “The Voice” after her mom’s suggestion. Lynch prepared for two months before arriving to Houston, TX on Jan. 9 to compete against 6,000 other people.

In addition to “The Voice”, Haley has sung in competitions such as KC Superstar, a local competition similar to American Idol. In last year’s contest, Haley placed eleventh out of 20, only one spot away from moving onto the final round. Haley said this was her inspiration for auditioning for the Voice.

Haley and Tiffany, Haley’s mom, stood in lines lasting for up to four hours to be randomly sectioned off into groups with other contenders. Each upcoming group stood waiting in the hallway for the previous auditioners, anticipating to see someone walking out with a red card.

“‘The Voice’ is a well-oiled machine and everything moved smoothly,” Tiffany said. “We were mostly excited, but as the lines became smaller we got more nervous.”

Each contestant in the group had a number on their card indicating who they were, which was then given to the producer. Whichever card the producer picked first indicated the first auditioner. Haley’s number was the first drawn in her group.

“It was kind of scary to be the first one picked because you don’t get to base it off of anyone else’s. It’s just you,” Haley said.

After about 30 seconds of Adele’s “Don’t You Remember”, the producer cut Haley off due to 30 second time limits. According to Haley, the most important part of picking your own song is to pick one with your strengths, and she was unable to get to the bridge of the song to show her strongest asset: her ability to belt very high notes.

Although Haley did not walk away with a red card, she walked away with an incredible experience that taught her about more competitive auditions other than local competitions.

“It really gave me some insight on what ‘show biz’ is like,” Haley said. “I just wanted to audition to give myself an idea of what it’s like auditioning for such a big competition.”

Even though she was unable to reach the next round with the blazing lights and the celebrity judges, according to Haley it was the experience of a lifetime. She has never wanted to take up singing as a profession more than she does now.

Haley’s sister and sophomore Annie Lynch still perceives her sister as an incredibly positive influence even though she didn’t move on to the next round.

“I hear her singing in her room before bed every night,” Annie said. “It’s really cool she knows what she wants to do so early in her life.”


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Marti Fromm

Marti Fromm is a senior at Shawnee Mission East and is the Webmaster. This will be Marti’s third year on staff and her second as the webmaster. When she doesn’t have her head buried in her computer screen, Marti plays golf and is in the social skills program at East. Marti can’t wait to watch her fellow staff members reach their full potential as journalists. Read Full »

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