Homecoming usually happens in the fall, but there was a special one Wednesday at Roosevelt High School. Sharane Calister was back where she used to sing in the school’s gospel choir, Bridges 2 Harmony, before the whole country got to hear her sing this spring on the popular NBC TV series The Voice.
At 10, Sharane and her twin sister were separated by adoption. Randomly, they reunited when both entered Roosevelt as 9th graders. That’s where Sharane shifted musical gears from the violin to singing. Since graduation in 2011, she’s been traveling with bands that perform at weddings, corporate events and private parties. And auditioning – there’s been a lot of auditioning.
Her message? DO NOT give up on your dreams!
“I tried out for American Idol twice,” she told an audience of students in the Roosevelt library Wednesday morning. “And this is my fourth time for The Voice.”
Calister said that when she went in for audition #4 her mind was made up that she wasn’t leaving without a ticket to the show. She got one, and on the blind audition episode that begins the competition, she wowed the celebrity judges and the live audience. Alicia Keys and Kelly Clarkson fought over her. She started out on Keys’s “team” and later moved to Adam Levine’s.
Now she’s back singing for Team Sharane. She brought along a small entourage of family and friends with her to Roosevelt, all decked in team t-shirts and staffing the merch table. Following her remarks, Calister patiently posed for selfies and signed photos for fans. She told them she’s at work on a new EP that’s soon to drop. She’s also slated to appear on the finale episode of The Voice next week.
“Everyone looks so young,” said Calister, who’s only 25, but has packed a lot of life experience into the years since high school. At Roosevelt, she found encouragement in the choral and drama programs that she paid forward on her return visit. “Seriously, you guys, if anyone tries to talk you out of a goal you have, don’t listen,” she said. “I’m a walking testimony that if you believe in yourself and don’t give up, you can do it.”
Kids might hear messages like that from lots of sources, but few are as credible as someone who’s fresh from national TV speaking directly to you in school, the same school they sprang from just a few years ago.
“Rejection hurts, no doubt,” she said. “But I kept telling myself that God gave me a gift for a reason.”
And that was The Voice she listened to.