Jan 27, 2014
08:45 AMHealth & Science
Emmy-Nominated Songwriter Hosting Competition to Aid Cancer Patients
Vern Williams/New Haven Register
Four-time Emmy nominee Jill Nesi poses with 2013 "Can U Sing USA" winner Charlie Tiernan in Madison Jan. 20.
A Madison songwriter is using her love of music to help those battling cancer.
"The Can U Sing USA mission is to bring quality New Music and accomplished New Talent from all over the New England and the USA," its website says. "Our aim to promote the development of talented people in achieving their full singing social and spiritual potential, as individuals. It is also, our mission Can U Sing USA to help raise money and awareness for surviving cancer victims through charities. Let’s work together to find our 'voice.'"
The singing competition will take place on Feb. 23 at Chicago Sam’s Sports Bar and Grille in Cromwell.
A final open-audition was held Saturday at Chicago Sam’s from noon to 3 p.m.
Winners from the competition take home $1,000 and the chance to record music in a professional studio.
Previous winners have continued with their singing career. East Haven resident Charley Tiernan has auditioned for Broadway. Nekita Waller of Windsor is performing throughout the state and is working on an album.
“To date, probably the biggest thrill in my life is winning Can U Sing. I put the big $1,000 check in my room and remember every moment of the competition fondly,” Tiernan said in a prepared statement.
Nesi began her entertainment career writing “healthy lifestyle” vignettes for children on CPTV and Atlanta Public Television.
She continued her work by writing a score for a documentary film on breast cancer, transitioning into using her art to help families dealing with cancer.
“I can’t even tell you why I want to, there’s just something inside me that wants to help,” Nesi said
Nesi also wrote a rap song for the foundation, which was performed by actor Zach Infante and current “American Idol” contestant Erin Christine.
Infante played the character Gordon in the movie, “School of Rock.” He has worked with nonprofit cancer foundations for several years, according to Nesi.
“I am truly honored to be a part of such a beautiful video for the Sunshine Kids. It was such a humbling experience to be able to work with such incredible talent. Jill and Zach opened my eyes to the amazing work the Sunshine Kids do, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it,” Christine said in a prepared statement.
Christine was a judge for the competition for two years.
Other judges include music professionals from Emerson College, Connecticut College and Berkley College of Music.
Nesi organized her singing competition after national television shows such as “American Idol” and “The Voice.
“There’s so much talent here in Connecticut, it’s a shame for them to never be heard,” Nesi said.