Kean Quest Searches for the Next Big Star

Kean Quest January 2013

            Gibsonia’s own Jackie Evancho first stepped onto the Kean Theatre stage in 2008 to compete in the competition now known as Kean Quest Talent Search. Soon after, the pint-sized singing sensation won the hearts of millions as a contestant on America’s Got Talent. Now the preteen’s resume includes platinum records and sold-out concerts.

            American CountyMusic singer and Eat n’ Park spokeswoman, Sarah Marince, was a MoonTownship teenager when she first performed at the Kean. She has since moved to Nashville where she celebrated her chart debut in 2010.

            With the successes of their predecessors, local up-and-coming vocalists are excited to belt-out high notes to an audience of family, friends and industry professionals during the 10th season of Kean Quest Talent Search, sponsored by Northern Connection Magazine.  “Kean Quest Talent Search is an opportunity for individuals of all ages to showcase their vocal talent, gain stage experience and help a local charity,” said Debbie Panei, executive director of St. Barnabas Charities. Proceeds from this unique fundraiser benefit the St. Barnabas Free Care Fund.

Again this year the Kean Quest title and Grand Prize of a recording session in a Grammy Award-winning studio, donated by Audible Images, will be awarded to Judges’ and Audience Choice winners in two age categories: ages 18 and under and ages 19 and above. Youth preliminary rounds begin January 27th and the contest concludes with the highly anticipated final round on April 5. The adult competition is set for March 1, 2013.

            During last year’s preliminary round nine-year-old Hannah Roadway performed “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera, another chart-topper formerly from the North Hills. “I enjoyed Kean Quest so much last year that I wanted to compete again,” said Hannah. This time she enters with the experience of having made it all the way to the finals. “The final round was a harder competition because it had the best singers in it.” Throughout the process she also discovered some important lessons. “I learned the more you practice, the better you will do and that it’s important to respect the other contestants and wish them well.”

Last year with more than 130 amateur singers performing a variety of genres, Kean Quest also proved to be a great place to make friends and network with other vocalists. Claire Fonzo, who, too, made it to the finals performing popular songs by Taylor Swift and Jordan Sparks, noted that the chance to connect with other singers was what she enjoyed most. “I made many new friends,” said Claire. “I loved listening to all of the very talented constants and learning from the other singers.” With hopes to someday sing professionally, Claire said she competed to improve her performance skills. “Kean Quest taught me to be more confident, and I’ve learned more about stage presence.”

Colleen Fonzo, Claire’s mother, noticed the impact the competition made on her 13-year-old daughter. “Claire is less shy now about meeting new people and sharing her talent. Kean Quest has really helped her to grow as an individual.”

            Nick Bramlett, who finished as the second runner-up in the adult category in 2011, is also preparing to compete again in Kean Quest. “Song choice is always the toughest part,” said Nick. “I want to find a song that showcases my range as well as my control.” As an I.T. Technician, Nick has a hard time finding performance opportunities. “I’ve always wanted a career in music, so I’m taking advantage of every opportunity. I really enjoy seeing the wide age range of the contestants, from young contestants who are using this experience to pursue a singing career to more seasoned contestants who just want to share their music.”

            Registration for the Kean Quest 2013 season is now open. To register, purchase tickets or for more information, call 724-443-0800, ext. 5310, email or visit

Pull Box:

Now Accepting Registrations!

Jan. 27 – April 5, 2013

Sunday, Jan. 27           Youth Preliminary 1, 1 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 24          Youth Preliminary 2, 1 p.m.

                                    Youth Preliminary 3, 5 p.m.

Friday, March 1          Adult Competition,    7 p.m.

Sunday, March 10      Youth Preliminary 4, 1 p.m.

                                    Youth Preliminary 5, 5 p.m.

Sunday, March 17      Youth Semi-Final 1,   1 p.m.

                                    Youth Semi-Final 2,   5 p.m.

Friday, April 5                        Youth Finals,              7 p.m.

Space is limited; sign up today!

Call: 724-443-0800, ext. 5310



Proceeds benefit the St. Barnabas Free Care Fund.