Morristown High’s Ella wows with Aretha at the Apollo

Morristown High School senior Ella Lindner delivers winning performance of 'Natural Woman' at the famed Apollo Theater, Nov. 2, 2022. Photo courtesy of Ranjini of Dreamlity Inc., via Facebook
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Bravo, Ella!

Morristown High School senior Ella Lindner wowed Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater on Wednesday, advancing to the second round of Amateur Night competition.

Lindner’s rendition of the Goffin/King classic Natural Woman, made famous by Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, registered a 95 on the applause decibel meter, propelling her past two other contestants. She’ll compete again on Nov. 9, 2022.

A natural: Ella Lindner at The Apollo, Nov. 2, 2022. Video courtesy of Hillary Lindner:

“It felt surreal to be on that stage because a ton of my idols have sung on that stage,  so it just felt like a huge honor,” Lindner said.

Morristown Onstage fans will remember Lindner’s performance of Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy at the Mayo Performing Arts Center last February. She also sang in the high school’s March musical, Something ROTTEN!

Finalist Ella Lindner sings at Morristown Onstage 2022. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Lindner’s voice coach, Jini Ettigi, said the teen impressed her with an audition of Natural Woman at the Dreamality Inc. summer camp in August.

“I have never assigned this song to anyone before, because if you can’t sing it with a ton of feeling, you have no business singing it,” the coach told her Facebook followers this week.

Another Ella — Ella Fitzgerald — is among the luminaries who have performed on the Apollo stage. Aretha Franklin gave a legendary concert there in 1971.

The Amateur Night contests are a tradition dating to 1934. Lindner follows some elite local acts. The boy bands Boys Night Out and Art of Play and Morristown Onstage finalist Hanna Neil all helped put Greater Morristown on the map of rising stars.

Musical talent flows through the Lindner family. Ella’s sister Helena was a 2019 finalist in Morristown Onstage, singing Wishing You Were Here Again from Phantom of the Opera. Now a sophomore at Cornell, Helena sings in the Cornell University Chorale.

This story has been updated with a comment from Ella Lindner, and clarification of her coach’s name.

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