We’ve Got Talent! Singers compete at Hard Rock Café-Miami; 2nd Annual Talent Show-Down

By Bari Auerbach….

Nick Merico presented as winner of 2010 Hard Rock Café-Miami Talent Show-Down (l-r) Event Organizer Yaffa Mizrachi; 2009 Hard Rock Café-Miami Talent Show-Down winner Natalia Sulca; Merico; Hard Rock Café Sales & Mktg. Manager Gonzalo Del Rio; Aventura Marketing Council President Elaine Adler; AMC Chairman and Event Emcee Cliff Schulman, Weiss Serota Helfman; Henry Menendez, HNO Productions. (Photography by Juan Saco Miranoff)

Proving We’ve Got Talent! the Aventura Marketing Council recently presented the second annual Talent Show-Down singing/networking extravaganza at the Hard Rock Café at Bayside Marketplace – perfectly orchestrated with partner organizations including the Coconut Grove Chamber, Coral Gables Chamber, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Miami Beach Chamber, Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber and the Miami-Dade Chamber.

Hard Rock Café Sales & Marketing Manager Gonzalo Del Rio extended a warm welcome to a huge turnout of business and community leaders thrilled at the innovative prospect of combining ultimate business-building opportunities with socializing, enjoying a delicious array of food and great entertainment presented by seven vocalists representing the organizations.

Heartfelt appreciation was expressed to public relations specialist Yaffa Mizrachi for her event coordination, who exclaimed, Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of such a fabulous event! Then AMC Chair/emcee Cliff Schulman of Weiss, Serota, Helfman kicked off the evening on a high note by announcing the organization submitting the winning act would receive $500 to donate to their favorite charity.

Abig round of applause also rang out for HNO Productions, ensuring a “sound’ success”; photographer Juan Saco Miranoff, capturing memorable moments; and Billy Graydon and partners of Grape Ape Films, taping the evening for media outlets and a YouTube video – sure to go viral!

Then it was time for a “drum roll” to introduce illustrious celebrity judges: Joe Alonso, School of Rock; Joanie Edwards, Little Theatre School of the Performing Arts; Vivian Greer-Digon, Raices Hispanic Heritage Cultural Arts Council; Florida State Senator Gwen Margolis; Suzan McDowell, Circle of One Marketing; George Neary, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau; Natalia Sulca, ’09 Talent Show-Down winner; comedian Johnny “Trabs” Trabanco; artist/agent Pati Vargas; and Michael Vita, former Broadway singer and dancer.

Throughout the evening, everyone was singing the praises of the Hard Rock Café’s private dining room transformed into a festive “Christmas in August” theme, complete with Santa, holiday decorations, a beautiful ice sculpture from Miami Ice Man, an amazing array of Hard Rock Café specialties plus sweet treats from Blue Bell Ice Cream… the perfect place to plan your holiday party.

Contestants Paula Zuleta representing Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce; Nick Merico, representing Aventura Marketing Council; Stephanie Llamas, representing Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber; JEI representing Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce; Mike Colucci representing Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau; Quintin Davis representing Miami-Dade Chamber; Patrick Harris representing Coral Gables Chamber.

The excitement grew as contestants took center stage…From the GMVCB: Mike Colucci; Miami-Dade Chamber: Quintin Davis; Coral Gables Chamber: Patrick Harris; Miami Beach Chamber: Jei; Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber: Stephanie Llamas; Aventura Marketing Council: Nick Merico; Coconut Grove Chamber: Paula Zuleta.

After all the judges’ votes and audience ballots were tabulated by CPAs Jack Rosenberg and Steven Price of Goldstein Schechter Koch, Gonzalo Del Rio announced the winner of the Talent Show-Down was 14-year-old Nick Merico, an amazingly talented vocalist attending American Heritage School on a Fine Arts scholarship. While Nick is already being sought by record labels and production companies, last year’s winner Natalia Sulca has received a musical scholarship to Berklee College.

Nick was presented with gift certificates and the great reward of knowing $500 would be donated to the Aventura Marketing Council’s Education Fund for at-risk children in his name. Runner-up Paula Zuleta was also awarded a package with assorted gift certificates.

For working in concert to produce another amazing Talent-Showdown, special thanks goes out to volunteers Sydney Faye Davis, Belina Nagar, Gar Mickler and Jessica Bert; and to contributors providing generous gifts for contestants and judges: Hard Rock Café- Miami, Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach, The Grill on the Alley, The Cheesecake Factory, Doubletree Ocean Point Resort, Emeril’s Restaurant at Loews Hotel, Filene’s Basement, Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort, Morton’s Steakhouse, Computer Café, Sweet Paradise Cupcakes and Cookies, Graziano’s Pizzaria, Green Gables Café, GMCVB, Dee & Company Hair Salon, Green Monkey Yoga, Art Connection Jewelry, Agua Spa at the Delano, Baptist Health Comprehensive Health Screening, The Westin Cincinnati, Florida Marlins, Macy’s, SoBe Dentist, Boca Tanning Club, and Arts at St. Johns.

For information about planning a holiday party at the Hard Rock Café, Bayside Marketplace, phone: 305-377-3110.

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