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Nov. 1, 2010

Junior wins final round of Amateur Night at the Apollo

by Liv Jacobson, Online Entertainment Editor
Junior Nathan Foley tied for first place with vocalist and cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson in the final round of Apollo Theatre's Amateur Night in Harlem, NY, on Oct. 27. Foley earned the title of "Super Top Dog" and won $5,000.

Foley performs "Maggot Brain" at an earlier stage of the competition.  Foley played "Maggot Brain" for his winning performance, as well. Courtesy of Nate Foley
Foley performs "Maggot Brain" at an earlier stage of the competition. Foley played "Maggot Brain" for his winning performance, as well.
The amount of audience applause determines the winner of Amateur Night, and the competitionís judges determined that the audience response for the two contestants were equal. Foley and Witter-Johnson, who is from New York, agreed to share first place and split the original $10,000 prize. Foley competed with a guitar rendition of "Maggot Brain" by Funkadelic, the same song that led him to win the past two rounds of competition as well as the Apolloís children's competition two years ago.

As the winner, Foley will ride on the Apollo Theatre's float along with music legend Gladys Knight during Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Nov. 25.

Approximately 50 people from Blair went on charter buses from Blair to the Apollo Theatre to support Foley. Junior Adrienne Jackson went on the bus to support Foley and appreciated the experience. "It's a once in a lifetime experience to see your friend perform at the Apollo," she said.

Foley was the sole performer who played only an instrument, as his competition was comprised of vocalists who also played instruments as well as one dance group.

Foley came into the final round of competition with no expectations. "I didn't expect anything, if I had won or lost I wouldn't have been surprised," Foley said. Even without expectations, Foley was pleased with his win. "It feels good to win, and I'm five thousand dollars richer!" he said.

Social studies teacher Lansing Freeman, who went on the bus trip to see Foley's performance, was enthusiastic about Foley's talent. "I'm always happy to see one of our young people doing so well," Freeman said. "To see Nate possessing style and abilities to that extent was a beautiful, great thing."

Foley plans to use his prize money to purchase a new guitar and save for college. He plans to go to college to study music, but also plans to see what the future holds for him. "I'm just seeing what happens right now," he said.



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  • nate superfan on November 3, 2010 at 8:28 AM
    Liv thank you for making Nate look like such a hero. You're an amazing writer and this article really showcases your and Nate's talent.
  • Sheri Verdonk (View Email) on November 5, 2010 at 7:41 AM
    Fantastic!!!!! I hope this was broadcasted around the school. What talent we have. Congratulations!!!!
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