The holiday season will be even brighter for Greentown resident Cora Kendall, who will take the stage to sing during the Circle of Lights celebration Friday in Indianapolis.
More than 100,000 people are expected to gather downtown for the free ceremonial lighting and holiday kickoff. Entertainers, including Kendall, 15, will also perform. She was one of just three acts selected from the over 150 original auditions sent in.
Kendall said, “My fingers went numb,” when she found out she was selected. “I almost dropped my phone. I was like, are you joking me?”
Her mother, Julie Kendall, was not joking. She received an email while in the parking lot of a grocery store. As she sat trying to compose herself through tears for a few minutes, Julie Kendall considered the outcomes.
“I’ve got to prepare to comfort her or celebrate with her,” she said. “I know she’ll be OK either way, but I don’t know if I will.”
Cora Kendall wasn’t aware of what to expect after the audition. She cited the large pool of talent auditioning and wasn’t exactly sure of what the judges were looking for.
“It was definitely nerve-racking,” she said. “You can only do your best, and then it’s up to the judges.”
Performing in front of 100,000 people and many more on TV could be a daunting task for someone just 15 years old. Although it is her first time on TV, she said she hasn’t let the nerves get to her yet.
“Right now I think about it and feel OK, but once the day comes … it’ll set in and I’ll start getting nervous,” she said.
Julie Kendall has been filled with pride since her daughter was selected. She has become a “momager” and has spent a lot of time making sure things go as smoothly as they can. Cora Kendall also has plenty of support from an amazing fan base in Greentown.
“People are over the moon about it … that makes me feel good because we’ve done something right,” Julie Kendall said.
Singing has always been a passion for the teen. She used to dress up and perform for her parents when she was younger. She said the singing bug really bit her when she won the middle school talent show in sixth grade by singing “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran.
She loves Broadway music and some of her favorite theatrical singers are Sierra Boggess, Christian Borle and Sutton Foster.
The Eastern High School sophomore is involved in many musical extracurricular activities as well. She spends her time as a member of swing band, performing in variety shows and in school productions. She most recently played Susan in “The Chronicles of Narnia.” She also competes on the swim team and is the reigning 2019 Howard County Junior Queen.
The free event begins at 6 p.m. and the lights in Monument Square will be lit up at 7:55 p.m. Those not attending can tune in to WTHR-TV Channel 13 from 7-8 p.m. to see the event.
Cora Kendall is still wrapping her arms around the fact that she was chosen to perform.
“I’d say it’s crazy, it’s exciting and it’s new,” she said. “It’s gone by so fast so I just want to savor every moment I can.”