23 Aug 2014
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Ashburn Awaits News of Singer’s ‘Voice’ Audition

Lena Traynham was in Chicago for an audition she landed through the School of Rock.

Ashburn Awaits News of Singer’s ‘Voice’ Audition Ashburn Awaits News of Singer’s ‘Voice’ Audition Ashburn Awaits News of Singer’s ‘Voice’ Audition Ashburn Awaits News of Singer’s ‘Voice’ Audition Ashburn Awaits News of Singer’s ‘Voice’ Audition Ashburn Awaits News of Singer’s ‘Voice’ Audition Ashburn Awaits News of Singer’s ‘Voice’ Audition

Briar Woods senior Lena Traynham had a big appointment Monday all of her friends in Ashburn are dying to hear about.

Traynham, a resident of Loudoun Valley Estates, was invited to audition for “ The Voice,” the singing competition on NBC.

Just how the audition came to be could serve as a dose of hope of young musicians.

Lena, 17, said music has always come naturally because it runs in the family.

“I’ve been singing my whole life, because my dad’s a musician, too,” she explained during a recent interview, naming singer/guitarist Harry Traynham. “I kind of look up to my dad in singing.”

Lena said she started at the School of Rock in Ashburn about three years ago.

“I’d been searching around for a place to take voice lessons,” she said, adding that she didn’t participate in chorus middle school. “I’m not really a choir-type of singer.”

But eventually Lena found drama in high school, complementing the classic rock that’s the focus of her education at the School of Rock.

While she likes all types of music, her favorite music to sing is from the ‘60s and ‘70s. In particular, she identified “Foreplay/Long Time” by Boston and “Baba O’Riley” by The Who.

Lena has performed in talent shows and cabaret nights, but nothing quite as challenging as her audition Monday, where she was not be able to rely on her classic rocks favorites.

“They said it had to be in the past 5 to 7 years or so,” she said, referring to the audition parameters, “and I’m more into classic rock and stuff. But I found some songs that would work.”

She prepared three songs: Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie,” Alex Clare’s “Too Close,” and “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield.

Her father accompanied her, playing guitar on “Valerie.”

The results of the audition could prove a huge lift or a bit of a let down, but Lena said she’s tried hard to keep from getting overly optimistic.

“I have a good mindset with the auditions,” she said, adding that it’s a chance not everyone gets that will serve as preparation for the future. “I’ll still have been through that audition process.”

Mary Bowers, manager of the School of Rock in Ashburn, said Lena could handle the pressure, which is part of the reason she was given the opportunity.

“She tough,” said Bowers, who became involved with School of Rock after her bass-playing son went through the program.

“They have so much fun,” she said, adding that the school provides a great environment. “It’s very safe. That’s part of it.”

Bowers son is in now at music school at Berkley, another example of how the school prepares its students.

“We try to get them into a real venue in front of real people,” she said, adding the teachers challenge the students. “We don’t dumb down the music.”

While there are few stages for the students to perform on in Ashburn, the students perform three times a year, often at Sully’s in Chantilly.

Lena’s opportunity came through former School of Rock employee Paul Ottinger, who relocated to California.

“Any opportunity he saw, he said he would bring to us,” Lena said.

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