St. Rose singer auditions for unique WWII act

This 19-year-old made it to semifinalists for gig

When Haley Taylor learned she wasn’t chosen for the equivalent of what she called “American Idol 1940s style” with the National WWII Museum, it was okay because what she learned already had her planning for next year’s competition.

“It was a blast to perform on that stage,” Taylor said only minutes after receiving the news from Tuesday’s audition.

“The judges said it was obvious I was a seasoned performer and had the whole package. Nothing but good comments from the judges … not one criticism.”The competition had just ended.

“I did not win, but I had a large audience vote and lots of supporters,” said the optimistic Taylor.

It’s the way of the performer.

But this Destrehan High graduate considered it an honor to gain this kind of performing experience.

“Being able to participate in this competition was a great performance opportunity,” Taylor said. “I was able to make a good impression on the judges and audience, as well as the entertainment management at the museum.”

Taylor was in her element and had the time of her life.“I will definitely be back to compete again next year,” she said. “For now, I will keep practicing and improving my performance skills and working towards my future.”

Dressed in her best 1940s outfit, she crooned Cole Porter’s

“I’m in love with a soldier boy” into the semifinals – and got noticed. She was competing among 40 semifinalists vying to get a yearlong gig as a singer at BB’s Stage Door Canteen at the museum.

Auditioning for it was actually her vocal teacher’s idea, but Taylor really got into the possibility of winning this sweet gig if she could win the semifinals.

“It’s out of my comfort zone and I wanted to try it,” she said of competing for the first time. “It would have been cool to be a headliner at the museum.”

Although Taylor intends to audition again next year, the competition also set her sights on the goal of becoming one of the museum’s Victory Belles when she becomes 21 years old. They are the museum’s equivalent of the Andrew Sisters, an iconic singing trio for the era, acting as ambassadors.

They perform 1940s songs at the museum and travel nationally to promote the attraction.

For Taylor, this would be a major career opportunity.“That would mean a lot to me because it would be everything I love,” she said. “I would perform, look cute everyday for work and honor all of the veterans. I’d spend my day at the museum in one of my favorite places in New Orleans, meet people and travel. It would be everything I want in one thing.”

The St. Rose resident would be among the people putting a face to this era, which she enjoys passionately.

“I’m very excited because I’ve always had a love for the 40s genre, and always felt I’ve had an old soul when it comes to music,” Taylor said.

And it fits with her love for music.

Taylor is a freshman at Loyola University New Orleans studying musical theater and theater arts. Music has been a part of her life since childhood, as well as the arts.

“I’ve been singing as long as I can remember,” she said.Her grandfather was an opera singer and was invited to sing in New York and later got to hear Taylor at Carnegie Hall, and her other grandfather made sculptures out of copper.

“When my friends were watching Rugrats, I was watching Shirley Temple and old musicals,” she mused. “I don’t really care if I’m different because many of my friends are artistic, too.”

Taylor hopes to have her own performing arts studio one day, but she’d be great with going to Broadway if she is successful in her career.

“I feel like music and performing is really an outlet for expression for me,” she said. “It’s where I can really be myself and let go.”


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