Members of the Saline Fiddlers hope for the chance to represent their hometown on national television.
This Saturday, the band of fiddling, singing and dancing Saline High School students will be in Chicago auditioning for the chance to perform on NBC’s America’s Got Talent.
Sunday afternoon, Artistic Director Ben Culver helped the band fine tune its 90 second medley put together for the upcoming audition.
Members of the band were all smiles when talking about the chance to play on a television program watched by millions of people around the world.
“I was a little overwhelmed when I first heard,” Eric Wharton said.
Wharton, who plays bass guitar for the band, said he was proud to learn that the band was invited to audition.
“It would be cool if we just decided to go and try out. But to be invited to audition is even better,” Wharton said. “It’s an incredible platform. Television is a different form of entertainment and one we really haven’t been able to explore so far.”
Fellow Saline High School senior Mellissa Ungkuldee plays violin for the Saline Fiddlers. She, too, was surprised by the news.
“It was out of the blue. It was a shock. But a really nice kind of shock,” Ungkuldee said. “It’s a little bit nerve wracking, but we’re excited to get the chance to play in Chicago.”
Like Wharton, Ungkuldee would relish the chance to play on America’s Got Talent.
“I would be great for our group and it would be awesome to have the opportunity to represent Saline on a national scale,” Ungkuldee said.
The Saline Fiddlers, known throughout the country for their stage show that includes music, song and dance from the traditions of American folk fiddle, bluegrass, jazz, western swing and Celtic music, are familiar with high profile gigs. The band has played at the White House, the Kennedy Center and opened for stars like Reba McEntire.
Culver said this is just the latest in a long line of great opportunities for student musicians in the program.
“The kids are thrilled. It would be a neat chance for us to perform (on America’s Got Talent). Performing is what the kids really love to do,” Culver said.
“For me, I love to perform. I think this opportunity shows people what kind of opportunities we’ve been given as members of the Saline Fiddlers,” said Wharton, who, as a senior, is wrapping up his final year in the band. “For me, it’s an awesome way end to this program.”
Wharton and Ungkuldee smiled through one last rendition of the 90-second medley at Sunday’s rehearsal.
“We feel really good,” Ungkuldee said. “We’re ready to play.”