Siblings from the Bronx have proven that they can perform on one of NYC’s largest stages.
Sisters Idania and Joelly Quezada, both born and raised in the Bronx, were just two of over 100 children and teenagers from the greater New York area that performed at Radio City Musical Hall for the Garden of Dreams Talent Show on Thursday, June 18.
Idania, a 16-year old who currently attends the Theatre Arts Production Company School, was a solo vocalist, performing the song ‘Youth’ by Daughter. Idania’s 19-year old sister Joelly backed her up with the guitar during the performance in a venue that seats 6,000 people.
During the days of preparation leading up to the talent show, Idanai and Joelly were mentored by the Rockettes, Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels and model Damaris Lewis, who observed their rehearsals and gave them feedback based on their practice performances.
“I learned a lot from the preparation process even though it was nerve wrecking,” said Idania, who has been singing for five years and also dances and acts.
“The mentors and the judges were very helpful – they taught me to relax and just focus on sounding good and just having a fun time on the stage.”
Idania also said that she has also learned a lot from her older sister, who performed at the Garden of Dreams Talent Show for the third time on Thursday.
In a mentoring role, Joelly taught Idania different singing techniques while providing her advice and tips from her previous experiences performing on stage.
“It was great to accompany my sister on stage while she sang and I played the guitar,” said Joelly, who has been playing the guitar for almost six years and is currently a Music Therapy major at Molloy College.
“When I first performed on stage in the 8th grade at age 14, I was in the same position that my sister was in before this performance – I was so shy and nervous – but eventually I learned how to not get intimidated or scared in front of a big crowd. These rehearsals are definitely great learning experiences for young performers like us,” she added.
After seeing both Idania and Joelly perform at the audition, the judges were highly impressed, seeing the potential and talent that the two teenagers possessed.
“When I saw them (Idania and Joelly) audition, it was almost like seeing them on the Madison Square Garden stage,” said Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels, talent director and member of influential hip hop group Run DMC. “They were very professional and it was a great performance – I honestly felt like a fan.”
“They’re lucky to have this opportunity so early,” added McDaniels, who also stated that he didn’t perform at Radio City until 1993 after he had been in the music industry for over ten years. “However, they deserve it, because they are incredibly talented at a young age. Even though they might need some help with their anxiety, we know they can overcome their obstacles with performing and life as a whole with confidence and proper mentoring.”
Both Idania and Jeolly are part of the Children’s Aid Society, one of the many long-standing partnering organizations of the Garden of Dreams Foundation and Madison Square Garden Entertainment.
Through the partnership of these three organizations as well as hospitals, wish organizations and community-based organizations, children with challenges such as homelessness, extreme poverty, illness and foster care are reached out to and cared for.
The talent show is just one of 500 events conducted by the Garden of Dreams Foundation each year.