By Angelica Acevedo
The United States Tennis Association is gearing up for this year’s US Open with performances from 12 kids, all under the age of 14, showcasing their singing chops in the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Among the performers, hailing from New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Florida and Hawaii, is 11-year-old Anna Gael Dejano, a resident of Forest Hills.
Dejano was a first-time contestant at the 10th annual US Open Anthem Auditions. She was selected from a group of 200 young performers who submitted video performances through a nationwide online audition.
After an in-person audition, Dejano and the other 11 finalists were selected by a panel of judges from the music and entertainment industries.
Dejano, who will perform “America the Beautiful,” said she is looking forward to singing in the stadium at the night sessions.
“I am very excited and humbled to sing ‘America the Beautiful’ at a time when my America is in the middle of a unity crisis,” Dejano said. “And I want to say that I think what makes America so beautiful is that in America every person has a voice.”
She took time to recognize those who inpired her on her journey.
“I also wanted to say thanks to my teacher, Ms. Marcelle Duarte, who encouraged me to try to represent my state and my city, New York, at the US Open, and, of course, my family who loves me and supports me.”
The other performers joining Dejano are: Saraya Angbazo, 10, of Tenafly, N.J.; Jake Shanker, 13, of Tenafly, N.J.; Jaden Todd, 12 of Tenafly, N.J.; Sisley Carretas, 11, of Dumont, N.J.; Dan Kaznowski, 9, of Scotch Plains, N.J.; Elijah Morman, 13, of Lumberton, N.J.; Vivienne Coletta, 10, of Malverne, N.Y.; Brandon Hernandez, 13, of Yonkers, N.Y.; Sabia Farag, 10, of Kailua, Hawaii; Lucia Fernandez de los Muros, 12, of Miami, Fla.; and Kialani Mills, 11, of Litchfield Park, Ariz.
They will be performing on the same stage as many musical icons have throughout the years, such as Lenny Kravitz, Phil Collins, Rihanna, Diana Ross, Art Garfunkel, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett and Ariana Grande.
The young singers will also perform at the Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, dedicated to celebrating the late tennis legend and humanitarian. That event will be this Saturday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows.
The US Open begins Tuesday and will end on Sept. 10. The Opening Night Ceremony will feature a performance by Canadian singer-songwriter Shania Twain.
“This year’s US Open Anthem performers will certainly be a treat for our fans,” said Katrina Adama, chairwoman, CEO and president of the USTA. “They will be performing on one of the biggest stages of their young careers, and we couldn’t be more proud to have their voices unite our fans not just for exciting tennis, but in the spirit of patriotism and solidarity.”