Ballard School of Performing Arts & Searching for a Star bids farewell to one of its brightest!

Mom and Daughter

Mom and Daughter

In 2009 the Searching for a Star competition experienced one of its greatest years. It was the year that some of our greatest performers came along. Performers like Clay Mobley, Brittany Thomas, Olivia Sanborn, Sarah Olson, John Michael Garcia, Mandolin Weisner, Yaminah Lewis, and Ashley Lee along with other great singers became a part of the talented 2009 group.  It is with saddness that I report one of our talents, Yaminah Lewis is moving to North Carolina…

D’Moreya Woods was the over-all winner that year; he is currently recording in Detroit, Michigan, and I am told that he is working with  “Maestro”, Michael Jackson’s producer! We wish him much success and continue to follow the musical careers of all of our singers. They are a source of great pride to the SFAS family. Ashley Lee is performing regularly and has a wonderful career as a song writer and singer.  Jonathan Pilgrim, graduate of Baylor is now an instructor at the famous college and Taylor Beckham recently gained national attentions for being selected as a singer on NBC’s popular show The Voice! They have all done well and are continuing their pursuits of a musical career.
Other SFAS singers have gone on to be a part of bands as instrumentalists and writers; Jonmichael Garcia and Jordan Bradshaw have become wonderful guitarists performing with their bands regularly, we are also proud of them!

Proud Mary

Yaminah performs "Proud Mary"

It was in 2009 that I first met Yaminah Lewis, her mother Takisha and her step dad Lawrence. They came to the program just as many others did, with a desire to be on stage and perform. I can’t say that Yaminah came with special singing abilities, maybe average, but what she did have was desire, and lots of it!  The other thing that Yaminah possessed was stage presence!  When performing she took command of an audience and never let them go until her performance was over! Two of my most memorable performances were her rendition of “Proud Mary” and “I know Where I’ve Been from Hairspray”.  She had outstanding performances for those songs, but it was when she sang “Proud Mary” she not only sang, but she became a young “Tina Turner” with many of the same dance moves and choreography that Tina used. To me that was the making of a true star! After those performances I could tell that Yaminah had the heart of a true performer.  

Yaminah, never missed an opportunity to perform; whenever she was asked to sing she was there!  Because she continued to sing, she got better and better and has become a wonderful vocalist!  Yaminah sang in the Searching for a Star competition in 2009, 2010, 2011 and finally in 2012 was the first place winner in her age group! Since that time she has performed as a representative of SFAS at Murphy Maize Days, Sachse Fall Fest, Wylie’s July Jubilee and Boo on Ballard. She has sung at Wylie ISD functions, Wylie City Hall, the House of Blues and Black History Programs at churches in the Dallas area along with countless other events… I believe that Yaminah is destined to be a star, and am very proud that our Searching for a Star program has played a major role in her musical foundation.

                        A FINAL FAREWELL…

Good Luck – Shine Brightly Yaminah!

On June 1, 2013 Ballard School will host this year’s music recital at Old City Park in Historical Downtown Wylie.  Ballard School will feature our guitar, drums and vocal students and have titled this recital “Celebrate Youth in Music”. 
As a final farewell to Yaminah and her parents, I have asked that Yaminah come out to perform. I am also opening up the stage to all Searching for a Star performers to come out and sing! I need your help to give a memorable send off to one of your fellow stars.  The public is invited to this celebration, and it is my hope that SFAS performers flood the park to show their musical talent and support! Ballard School will provide hot dogs and popcorn to all that come.  Bring your lawn chairs and soft drinks and become an active part of this celebration!

Lastly, as I reflect on the relationship that I have formed with this family, I want to say thank you Yaminah, thank you Takisha and Lawrence for your dedication and support of this program that has touched the lives of over 700 children and their families since it began in 2007.  SFAS wishes you all the best; and though we will be separated by distance, I am certain that we have not heard the last of one of our brightest stars; you certainly will always have my support!

Rob Hunter – Founder, SFAS and Ballard School of Performing Arts

Date:  June 1, 2013
Location: Old City Park, Historical Downtown Wylie
Time:  10:30am – 2:30pm
Admission is free!