Morristown High School junior Bobbi Baitey likes to test herself. Her alto voice has been winning raves in the Calvary Baptist Church choir for years. Next month, she’ll venture into soprano territory to belt out Beyonce’s Listen.
“You don’t really know if you’ll hit the notes. You have to have trust,” says Baitey, one of 14 finalists who will compete in Morristown Onstage at the Mayo Performing Arts Center on Feb. 26, 2020.
Top amateurs from Greater Morristown will vie for cash and glory. Now in its 13th year, the show raises money for programs in the Morris School District.
How is Baitey feeling about her vocal experiment?
“Pretty confident,” she says.
Part of that confidence comes from singing with MPAC’s crackerjack Performing Arts Company.
Plus, she has something to prove. She tried out for Morristown Onstage a few years ago (singing Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful), but came up short.
“I was nervous. I was very young,” Baitey recounts.
Family bragging rights are at stake, too. Her older sister, Aja, now enrolled at Pace University, also sang with the MPAC ensemble and auditioned for Morristown Onstage.
Mostly, though, Baitey says she is in this for the pure joy of singing.
“It’s always very happy for me. I kind of like to show my emotion through my songs, and things that I’m feeling.
“That’s why I chose Listen, specifically. I feel like a lot through my life, I’m silenced. Listen is a song to let people know I have a message. I have something to say. I’m capable of anything I put my mind to.”
Produced by the nonprofit Morris Educational Foundation, Morristown Onstage is open to amateurs who live, work or study in Morristown, Morris Township or Morris Plains, and to alumni of Morristown High School. From more than 60 acts that auditioned, 14 were chosen to compete on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. Show business pros will award $1,000 to the top youth and adult performers, and the audience favorite will take home $500. Tickets go on sale Jan. 29. Proceeds benefit Morris School District programs.