Kids give it their all at show in Rego Park

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The atmosphere was electric at the third annual Citywide Talent Show at Rego Park's Lost Battalion Hall Friday evening. The children's excitement was contagious, as each borough's group cheered for their favorites.

The kids, who come from Department of Parks recreation centers throughout the city, were all finalists who had advanced from competitions in their boroughs. The performance showcased the skills of children 5 to 18 in soloists as well as age categories.

Small Oscar-like statuettes were lined up on a table near the stage, half of them gold, the other half silver, to be given out to first and second place winners in five different categories.

Among the six judges at the show were basketball pro Craig Robinson, singer and actress Ramona Keller, Miss New York Teen USA Gloria Sophia Almonte, and Hot 97 F.M. radio jock Kirt Flirt.

Far Rockaway's Ty Lee Smith, 7, aka "Big Ty," who goes to the Sorrentino Recreation Center, brought the house down with his rendition of rapper Little Bow Wow's "Puppy Love" - everyone began rapping the lyrics to the popular song along with him. Not surprisingly, he won his age category.

"I thought it came out pretty good," Ty, who had only done his act two other times before, told Qguide after his performance.

Queens' own PAC Breakdancers from the Playground for All Children Recreation in Corona, won second place. The infectiously enthusiastic all-boy group won over the crowd with their caterpillar-like undulations.

Tara Vayano, 16, from Ozone Park and the Sorrentino Recreation Center, sung the rhythm and blues hit by Tamia, "If I Were You" with no musical accompaniment.

Tara's only previous performance, she told Qguide, was at her grammar school graduation. "I was so nervous, this was the biggest thing I've ever done," said Tara, who was a first-place finalist in the Queensborough competition. "I think I'm up against some very talented people."

Tara said she would like to sing professionally. "I like R&B all the way. It's soulful music, lots of feeling."

Despite the talented teenager's strong voice, which got the audience to clap in unison with her song, Tara did not place.

Reach reporter Daniel Arimborgo by e-mail at or call 229-0300 Ext. 141.

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