09/15/2008 - CONTACT: Melissa Stradnick – 717-534-8945
(HERSHEY, PA) — The HERSHEY BEARS are proud to announce the 2008-2009 anthem singers. All individuals were asked to submit a one-minute audio and/or video recording containing a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, God Bless America, and O' Canada. After reviewing the audition tapes the BEARS staff narrowed it down to eight finalists, who came to Giant Center for a live audition. Following auditions, seven individuals were chosen to sing at the start of various home games. The anthem singers and short biographies are listed below in alphabetical order.
Leslie Barton is from Mountville, Pennsylvania where she is a Hempfield High School graduate and is currently in her junior year at Millersville University. While growing up, Leslie performed in talent shows, musicals, churches, choirs and even toured Europe with American Music Abroad. In 2005 Leslie was crowned the winner of Lancaster Headliners, where she performed at the American Music Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Last February, Leslie had the opportunity to perform at Spotlight Live in the heart of Times Square, New York City. She was also a featured performer for Countdown Lancaster for the past two years. Leslie is currently focusing on her song writing and hopes to someday become an established singer/songwriter and tour the world with her music. In the meantime, Leslie is thrilled to sing for the BEARS for her fourth season.
Amy Beniston is a graduate of Annville Cleona High School and has an associate's degree in theatre from Harrisburg Area Community College. Through the years, Amy has performed at weddings, churches, minor league baseball games, in a talent show on a cruise ship and many more events. She has been an anthem singer for the Hershey Bears since the days of the Historic HERSHEYPARK ARENA and is excited for another great season.
Michael Benson is a graduate of Milton Hershey School, and is back for his fifth season with the BEARS. He is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with the Pennsylvania Securities Commission as the Deputy Chief Accountant. Some of Michael's accolades include singing at weddings, performing in musicals and singing the national anthem for the Harrisburg Senators. He can often be found at the BEARS games when a Canadian team is visiting, as he sings the Canadian National Anthem.
Laura Delaney is a graduate from Penn State University and specializes in Corporate Communication. She works as a Program and Services Specialist for the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. She has a passion for singing and performing, and has participated in school choir, sang in church, weddings, local sporting events, the Lehigh Valley May Fair and for the Philadelphia 76ers. This is Laura's second year as an anthem singer and she's looking forward to the start of the season.
Krista Jakubik is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a degree in Elementary Education. She teaches Kindergarten Readiness at Derry Preschool. Jakubik has been singing for 40 years and is active in the music program at her church—Grace United Methodist Church of Hummelstown. She also sings, directs and sometimes performs in the annual children's spring musical at her church. This will be Krista's second season with the BEARS and she is excited to have the opportunity.
Erin Kelly is 13 years old and a student at Orefield Middle School. She sings for numerous charities across the region and is currently a member of DreamKids. This is a group of children that raise more than $14,000 a year for chronically and terminally ill children to be granted a wish through the Dream Come True Foundation. Erin is currently the M.E.N.C. State Representative for the National Anthem and performed in Washington, D.C. this past June. She also opened up for the radio station WIOV at Fallfest in Lancaster at age 10, and has performed for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Philadelphia Phillies. She also performed at half-time of the season opener for the New York Knicks. She is looking forward to another great season with the BEARS.
Janelle Sowers is majoring in Musical Theatre at Point Park University and has been involved in more than 30 on stage performances in both school and community theatre. She has been involved in many singing groups, including her church adult and youth praise teams, York County junior and senior honors choirs, Heaven Bound, Expressions, Spring Grove Choir and was the jazz band singer for her high school. Sowers has performed as a soloist at coffee houses, the Strand Capitol, churches, malls, weddings and First Night York 2006. Most recently, she was seen as a performer at Dutch Wonderland. She sang the national anthem for the opening ceremony of the Keystone State Games. Janelle is returning for another great season of fun.