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Preston teen sets dreams on airwaves

In the early hours of April 28, one local teen made her on-air debut on The WOR Morning Show with personalities Joe Bartlett and Donna Hanover.

Preston High School junior Devyn Abbate, 16, participated in the 7:20 a.m. interview as a portion of Gimme Gimme from her role as the lead in the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie played over the airwaves.

It was all part of her involvement with the station’s fourth annual Shining Star Talent Search.

Abbate, of Country Club, said she first heard of the contest about a month ago when her principal encouraged her to enter.

“At first I was a little skeptical, but then I thought I’d give it a shot,” she said.

Dubbing a clip from her lead role in Thoroughly Modern Millie, the school’s most recent musical, she sent in a sample of Gimme Gimme as her application piece.

“That was my favorite song of the show,” she said about a difficult role she was eventually able to master and perform flawlessly.

Just two weeks after she sent in her submission, Abbate said she received a call asking her to interview on air.

She wasn’t the only one thrilled about the opportunity. Abbate said her family and friends even gave up sleep to show their support.

“They all woke up early and were listening,” she said about her radio debut.

The Shining Star Talent Search benefits the tri-state area schools, grades seven through 12, by supporting arts curriculums and awarding the winners cash prizes.

Following a rigorous internal judging process of all applications, the radio station will notify the 25 contest semi-finalists on May 22.

Each of the semi-finalists will receive $100 and have the opportunity to perform before family, friends and a judging panel of entertainment industry professionals at WOR’s Shining Star Sing-Off at the New York Downtown Marriott Grand Ballroom on Sunday, June 8.

The top six finalists’ songs will air on WOR, with the top listener vote getter to be named the winner.

The winner, first and second runners-up will sing in front of thousands at WOR’s Get Healthy Expo at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center on June 21.

The Shining Star will receive $2,500 and a professional recording session with Kamen Entertainment Group NYC, as well as $10,000 for the winner’s school.

The first runner-up will get $1,500 and the second runner-up $750.

Abbate said she’d love to win the money for Preston, and would put her own prize cash toward college, where she plans to major in musical theater.

But as Preston’s star varsity softball pitcher and leading lady in the schools’ musicals, this talented teen can’t lose either way.

Deadline for contest entries is May 14. For information or to get involved, visit www.wor710.com.

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