Wellington, FL – Jan. 25, 2017 - Equestrians strive for poetry in motion, but when confronted with Brandon Olavarria’s visceral poetry in emotion, they stop dead in their tracks. The boisterous crowd on-hand for Week III of American Equestrian’s Got Talent (AEGT) was rendered silent as 17-year-old Olavarria took the stage to deliver his unique brand of heart-felt poetry at the Grande Ballroom in Wellington, Florida, Tuesday night.
Born in Queens, New York, Olavarria was plagued by depression. “I felt like I couldn’t change it,” he said. “Actually, who inspired me was Robin Williams. I realized there are probably other people who hurt less than me or worse than me, and they thought what I thought. They didn’t have anybody else and they didn’t have anybody to turn to and I couldn’t let that happen.”
His first piece centered around an event his cousin experienced and when the crowd applauded him into the second round, the poet spoke about redemption.
“My best friend, J, he committed suicide around this time of year,” he said. “It always gets vivid so I write about that. It’s a curse, but at the same time, it makes me more experienced in the real world. This is how I deal with it.”
His dramatic deliveries brought some audience members to their feet for a standing ovation and others to tears. Robert Dover, organizer of the event to raise funds for U.S. Equestrian High-Performance Programs, said he had difficulty overcoming his emotion after Olavarria’s monologues and one of the three judges, Carol Cohen Hodess, could barely deliver her remarks with a wavering voice and teary eyes after his performance.
Fellow judge Ron Davis said he was blown away and told the junior at Wellington High School that he has a talent to be a poet, screenwriter or songwriter and suggested the young poet put beats or music to his delivery. “I make films and documentaries and I’ve seen what you do and it was really, really amazing,” Davis said. “You can write. Just wow. It’s remarkable.”
The third judge for the event, Linda Zang, said, “There’s a great future for you because people don’t tell people how they feel and what’s bothering them.”
Audience applause determined the final round, and singers Alyssa Marie Koons and Michael Boone joined Olavarria for a chance to claim the $1,000 prize from the week’s presenting sponsor, Robert Ross of Keller Williams Luxury Realty, and a chance to vie for the $10,000 prize in the Grand Finale slated for March 19 at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival showgrounds.
After the final round, Cohen Hodess said the message was much stronger than a beat. “I think you’re brilliant. Don’t stop. You had me in tears with your first piece, but your second piece was even better. It was uplifting but sad. You’re articulate. Intelligent. You’re Ivy League.”
Olavarria stared at the $1,000 check he held in both hands as he left the Grande Ballroom. “I’m going to give $500 to my mother and I am going to take $500 for boxing,” he said. “I always wanted to take boxing.”
The next AEGT audition is set for Wednesday, Feb. 1 at the Grande Ballroom located at 12150 Forest Hill Boulevard, Wellington, Florida 33414. Contact Robert Dover at Rdover2@aol.com or (561) 758-6186 about auditions. Walk-in performers may be accepted as time permits.
Dinner for Week IV begins at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. Contact Patty Scott for tickets at: (917) 318-0425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Equestrians Got Talent, a fundraiser to benefit USEF High Performance Programs, returns to Wellington, Florida, for its third year in 2017. Contestants participate in weekly auditions to earn a spot to compete in the season finale. Celebrity judges at each audition critique the performances and the audience's applause determines who will progress to the Finale.
AEGT FAST FACTS
6 p.m. Dinner
7 p.m. Show Begins
Wednesday, Feb. 1; Wednesday, Feb. 8; Wednesday, Feb. 15;
Wednesday, Feb.22; Wednesday, March 1; and Wednesday, March 8
The Grande Ballroom
12150 Forest Hill Boulevard
Wellington, Florida 33414
Click here for map
$1,000 will be awarded to the winning performer at each audition.
Robert Dover at: Rdover2@aol.com or(561) 758-6186
Individual Ticket: includes gourmet dinner $60
Individual Standing Room Ticket: $10
Table of 10: includes gourmet dinner $600
Ticket purchase for beverages, wine, beer and spirits
Purchase and Reserve Tickets and Tables:
Contact Patty Scott at (917) 318-0425 or email@example.com
Wellington Hospitality Group (formerly Aaron's Catering of the Palm Beaches) Each audition week will be a themed event.
Auditions are open to the entire community, including competitors, owners, riders, grooms and others involved in any discipline and citizens of The Village of Wellington associated with the equestrian community. Please sign up in advance.
Robert Dover at: Rdover2@aol.com or(561) 758-6186 to set up rehearsal times the day and evening of the auditions. Walk-in performers may be accepted as time permits.
Week I - Olivia Willis, representing the sport of dressage.
Week II - Zach Duckworth, representing the sport of dressage.
Week III - Brandon Olavarria, representing the sport of dressage.
When: March 19, 2017
Where: Adequan® Global Dressage Festival show grounds, Wellington, Florida
Caterer: White Horse Catering is the official caterer of the Winter Equestrian Festival and Adequan® Global Dressage Festival.
Prize: The winner, who will be named America's Most Talented Equestrian, will receive a grand prize of $10,000 sponsored by Robert Dover, chef d'equipe of the U.S. Dressage Team, and Robert Ross, P.A., luxury equestrian realtor for Keller Williams.
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