As I transferred train cars onto the New Jersey Coast Line headed towards Asbury Park, I had no idea what to expect upon photographing The Salvation Army’s Divisional Star Search event. Morning prep paced on as the children filed into the Asbury Park Citadel donned in their crisp white tops, classic navy bottoms and youth soldier lapel pins. Class acts brimming with excitement, stomachs stacked with butterflies, on deck and ready to show the community how well they can sing, dance, speak and play. Amongst the droves of participants, there was a strong mix of ages, experience levels, backgrounds and personalities, as the girls and boys performed throughout the day proudly representing their New Jersey town.
To say I was impressed wouldn’t be completely accurate: I was reached. By keeping an open mind, without judgment nor expectations, life will continue to surprise you and these little rockstars blew me away. It wasn’t just their talent, rather their vulnerability: They showed up, they were seen. And they lived that Saturday with their whole hearts.