Artists audition for this year’s MetroPerforms!

Performers wait to audition for MetroPerforms! (WTOP/Nathan Hager)

Nathan Hager, wtop.com

WASHINGTON — Metro’s Got Talent? Transit Idol?

Not quite, but that’s not to say there wasn’t an eight-car train’s worth of talent on display at Metro headquarters Tuesday evening.

The transit agency’s Arts in Transit program held auditions for MetroPerforms! Tuesday afternoon — an occasional summertime talent showcase that began in 2007 to give singers, instrumentalists, spoken word artists and other street performers a chance to gain some exposure along the rail network.

This year’s auditions also included a chance for winners to perform at Music on the Mall, a joint effort by Metro, the National Park Service and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Dozens of local amateur artists turned out for their shot at commuter stardom, and the mix of performers was eclectic: guitarists, keyboardists, saxophone and flute players, gospel singers, bluesmen, folkies and poets.

“We want a shot in music, because it’s our passion,” said 19-year-old Demontre Washington, who came out to the auditions with Craig Dickens, also 19. The two friends have sung together at local churches and parties for the last couple of years.

“I’m going to school for (music) to get my degree in this, so if I get famous through Metro, then that’s what it is, but I’m doing it just for fun,” Dickens said. He’s majoring in music and education at the University of Pennsylvania.

Another young performer, 16-year-old Luke Reddick, brought a harmonica and acoustic guitar just to see what the fuss was about.

“I normally play on the street in Old Town Alexandria. I just heard about this and thought it would be something fun to do with my afternoon,” Reddick said.

Arts in Transit program manager Michael McBride led the panel of judges, including a Metro employee, a representative from the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage and a producer for the Live! On Woodrow Wilson Plaza program at the Reagan Building.

Performers were judged on expression, form, skill, presence and experience.

A number of Metro employees also auditioned for the chance to perform at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage or at the Reagan Building.

Those selected in the MetroPerforms! program will be considered volunteers and won’t be allowed to sell merchandise or solicit tips.

The program used to offer a stipend to the performers, but Metro says budget constraints are preventing the agency from paying the winners this time around.

Performances will take place throughout the Metrorail system through September.

Watch the videos below to see people auditioning and practicing for MetroPerforms!

Follow Nathan and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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