Kailua girl earns coveted spot to perform at 2017 U.S. Open

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The USTA today announced the names of 12 vocalists, ages 14 and under, who will perform patriotic-themed songs during the night sessions of the 2017 US Open and at Arthur Ashe Kids' Day. The lineup for this year's US Open features talent from throughout the New York metropolitan area, as well as from Arizona, Florida and Hawaii.

Returning for the second consecutive year, 11-year-old Kialani Mills, a USTA 12 and Under Tennis player from Litchfield Park, Ariz., will kick off with "The Star Spangled Banner" at the 2017 Arthur Ashe Kids' Day powered by Net Generation on Saturday, Aug. 26. In addition to Mills, three other performers will be returning for their second consecutive year to perform "America the Beautiful" in front of anticipated capacity crowds during the evening sessions. They are: Brandon Hernandez of Yonkers, N.Y., and two performers from New Jersey, Elijah Morman of Lumberton and Jake Shanker of Tenafly.

This year's tournament will showcase eight newcomers, with two additional Tenafly, N.J., performers rounding out six from the Garden State. Traveling the farthest to make their Arthur Ashe Stadium debuts are Lucia Fernandez de Los Muros of Miami and Sabia Farag of Kailua, Hawaii. Farag is the first performer from the Pacific Island State and is the farthest-traveling contestant in US Open anthem audition history to sing on the big stage.

Sabia has been performing publicly since age 7, and at age 9 wrote and produced her first original song and music video.  She plays ukulele, guitar and piano and loves to act and sing in musical theater, and has won numerous statewide singing competitions.  In Sabia's first audition for a role in musical theater, she landed the lead role as Jasmine in Aladdin Jr.; produced by Hawaii's largest youth performing arts center.

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the US Open Anthem Auditions. The audition process for these coveted spots began earlier this summer, when more than 200 performers submitted performances via a nationwide online audition. A select number of contestants from the online audition were invited to participate in an in-person call-back audition, where they performed in front of a panel of judges from the music and entertainment industries.

The US Open is one of the world's highest-attended annual sporting events, making this a great opportunity for the chosen performers. These children will join the group of music industry leaders who have performed at the event, including Lenny Kravitz, Ariana Grande, Rihanna, Demi Lovato, Phil Collins, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Diana Ross, Art Garfunkel, Aretha Franklin and Tony Bennett. This year's Opening Night Ceremony will feature global superstar Shania Twain.

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