A Flushing teen had the honor of singing “America The Beautiful” at the 2019 U.S. Open on Aug. 28, prior to the evening session on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Representing Flushing, Kelly Lukito, 13, is one of 12 vocalists (ages 14 and under) selected by the USTA to perform patriotic songs during the night sessions of the 2019 U.S. Open and at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day. The lineup for this year’s talent features kids throughout the tri-state area, as well as from California, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.
Lukito, an off-Broadway performer, did her first musical in the fourth grade, she says. She played the role of Flounder in “The Little Mermaid.”
“I’ve been singing all of my life. I do a lot of plays, musicals, short films,” Lukito said during a pre-show interview. “I am really excited … it’s just wild and crazy. I never thought I would be here doing this.”
Lukito submitted her performance via a nationwide online audition for the 13th anniversary U.S. Open Anthem Auditions. The audition process began earlier this summer with close to 350 contestants vying for a coveted spot.
A select number of contestants from the online audition were invited to participate in an in-person callback, where they performed in front of a panel of judges from the music and entertainment industries.
“My advice to others is to just be yourself because a lot of people have different voices and you never really know what anyone is looking for,” Lukito said. “Don’t be afraid and go for anything because you would be surprised at the results.”
Past U.S. Open anthem winners and performers include Frenie Acoba (“Matilda” on Broadway), Angelica Hale (“America’s Got Talent” season 12), and Brennley Brown (“The Voice” season 12).
These children will join the group of music industry leaders who have performed at the event, including Kelly Clarkson, Lenny Kravitz, Ariana Grande, Rihanna, Phil Collins, Fitz and the Tantrums, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Diana Ross, Art Garfunkel, Aretha Franklin and Tony Bennett, to name a few. Headlining this year’s Opening Night Ceremony will be Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning vocalist, actor and Atlantic Records recording artist Ben Platt of Broadway’s “Dear Evan Hansen.”