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America’s Got Talent SA Auditions

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Photos by Ramón Hernández

“America’s Got Talent” producers descended on the Alamo City to hold auditions for their upcoming season and Anna Sánchez was among those who stood out in a sea of thousands trying out.

While many aspiring contestants made the trek from New Mexico, Kansas and Oklahoma, while driving down from Corinth, Texas seemed to be a much shorter drive for Anna, her husband Miguel Sánchez and their friends, Jennifer and Mike Parker.

The truth is that making it this far was a long way for Anna, who originally hails from York, Pennsylvania where, as she says, “I grew up on a farm where I would sing to the cows and to my friends at school.”

She was ten or eleven when the church elders heard her sing from a pew where she stood next to her paternal grandparents and they suggested that they should put her in the church choir.

Bessie and David Kiser took their advice, encouraged Anna and at age thirteen, she made her sining debut at a Father/Son Banquet at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania before a congregation of approximately one hundred.

Her Christian upbringing meant that her sole repertoire consisted of gospel and songs of praise and worship.

In the summer of 1995, she moved to Dallas where Carol Brown, her maternal grandmother began to enter the blonde cutie into beauty pageants. One of those beauty competitions was the Little Miss Texas pageant where she won the “Grand Talent” portion of the contest with her vocal rendition of Celine Dion’s “Power of Love.” To top it off, Anna was also the runner-up in this contest.

Anna was still wearing her tiara when she met Miguel, the son of Kathy and Pete Sánchez, CEO and president of “Little Joe’s Salsa.” After that, the only time she sang was during a Sánchez Family reunion in Navasota, Texas two years after she met Miguel.

“I didn’t pursue singing at all for the next 15 years. We just went to karaoke bars where I kicked butt for years,” Anna said with a sense of pride.

Although she honed her voice with karaoke, according to the 35-year-old singer, one reason for not pursuing a musical career was because of weight gain. “But I recently lost 140 pounds and I decided to audition for ‘America’s Got Talent’ because I’m not getting any younger and I wanted to set a good example for my kids – Brenden, age five; and Ava, age 17 months — and to teach them that no matter what the outcome may be, you have to try. So I wanted to do this for my kids and for me.”

Among those that also stood in long lines extending to Alamo Street for the chance to audition were Jordan Clements, who mother drove her down from Oklahoma, Lisa Ybarra, Austin Rios, Matthew Gutiérrez, Houston; Drew K, Austin; and Alfredo “Freddy” González from Corpus Christi. San Antonio Express-News reporter Héctor Saldaña, WOAI-TV personalities Shelly Miles and Albert Flores, other news medias and of course StreetTalk & River City Attractions were there to cover the event.

For her audition in front of a male producer for the program, the blue-eyed, 5-feet-7-inches tall songbird wearing an over the shoulder purple blouse, black pants and high heels plus tag identifying her as #08030340, chose to sing “Girl on Fire,” a tune made popular by Alicia Keys.

“If chosen for the next round, whatever producer is assigned to you will guide you through the whole procedure and we will audition for the celebrity judges.”

The next phase of the auditions will also be held in San Antonio and we at StreetTalk Magazine & River City Attractions wish the gorgeous – with or without glasses — contestant the best of luck.

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