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Elburn teen, Geneva college student bring talents to show

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

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Fourteen-year-old Nicole DiSandro last year would practice “Gimme Gimme” from “Thoroughly Modern Millie” daily to prepare for her performance in the eighth-grade musical.

Now a Kaneland High School freshman, Nicole still has reason to rehearse the ditty, although less frequently: She will perform it Saturday at the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs Talent Contest in Springfield.

“It’s really cool,” Nicole said of her participation in the state competition. “I feel good about it, and I’m excited for it.”

Nicole, of Elburn, is representing Kane County along with 20-year-old Eric Luminais of Geneva. Nicole and Luminais were the junior and senior division first-place winners in the Kane County Fair Talent Contest last summer.

Each will perform their winning acts Saturday. Nicole will sing “Gimme Gimme,” and Luminais will perform an unconventional and complicated flute solo titled “Three Beats for Beatbox Flute, Beats 1 and 2.”

“I’m always excited for any chance to perform,” Luminais said. “I’m kind of addicted.”

The Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs Talent Contest will have 39 acts competing in the senior division and 38 acts in the junior division. Ten acts will be recognized to win in each division, with the top six receiving a trophy, monetary award and an invitation to perform at the 2013 Illinois State Fair.

“I’m hoping that I’ll place, but I’m just really excited that I get the opportunity to be there,” Nicole said.

Luminais hopes to at least place in the top three, he said.

Luminais is a sophomore at Eastern Illinois University studying music performance on flute. He began playing the woodwind instrument in about fourth grade because he liked the sound of Irish Celtic music, he said. He added he later fell in love with music in general and the instrument, but it’s difficult to say what he likes about the flute.

“It’s always a tough question because there are so many things that I like,” he said.

Nicole, who won last year’s Elburn Idol, said she loves singing and enjoys performing live.

“It’s just raw,” she said. “If you mess up, you mess up, no going back.”

Her mother, Anne DiSandro, said it’s great her daughter can get experience performing on stage through local events.

“It’s just a great experience these kids can get through local fairs,” she said.

Details about the 2013 Kane County Fair Talent Contest auditions will be available soon. Auditions typically are in June, and the fair is set for July 17 to 21. Last year, more than 38 acts auditioned and 19 finalists competed for prizes, contest coordinator Larry Rossi said in a news release.

“The judges were highly impressed with the quality of talent in our community,” he said in the release. “We really look forward to next year’s contest based on the excitement we experienced this year.”

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