With Verizon's Help, Talented New Englanders Become TV Stars of the Day

A group of talented Verizon customers will become television stars of the day when they participate in a taping Sunday (Dec.5) of the popular TV talent show "Community Auditions."

The performers are winners of a video talent contest sponsored by Verizon and "Community Auditions" and were selected by Armstrong Interactive, owners of the show, from among 47 contestants.

The winners are: Rhode Island residents Chet Mattera of East Greenwich and Mary Vazquez of Central Falls; Massachusetts residents Lauren Hunt of Kingston, Jason Paulino of Clinton and Scott Mellecker of Princeton; and the singing group "Closer Than We Appear" from Scituate, Mass.

Mattera, Vazquez and Mellecker will perform on-air duties, either as a co-host or backstage interviewer, during Sunday's taping, and Hunt, Paulino and "Closer Than We Appear" will sing.  The taped show will open the 2011 season of "Community Auditions." It will air during the weekend of Feb. 11-13.

Sunday's event, to be held at the MGM Grand Theater at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, is open to the public, free of charge.  In addition to the taping, contestant auditions for the 2011 season will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Also, taping of the shows for the balance of the 2010 season, including the grand finale, will be held, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The contest winners will be VIP guests of the show and treated to a stay at the resort that weekend.  Verizon will make a donation to the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function in the name of each winner.

"This was a unique contest showcasing the unique talents of our customers," said Bob Driscoll, Verizon's vice president of sales for the Northeast region, who will also co-host Sunday's show.  "FiOS is the star at Verizon, and this is a chance for our customers to be 'The Star' on 'Community Auditions.'"

Chuck Armstrong, president of Armstrong Interactive Inc., producer of "Community Auditions," said: "We are delighted to have Verizon and its customers participate in our popular show.  We have a very special relationship with Verizon, and this is just one example of the kinds of unique promotions that we can develop together."

Further expanding its commitment to musical education and youth, "Community Auditions" will also conduct a special "TV Media 101" session during the lunch time tape break, at approximately 12:45 p.m. It will be led by Candy O'Terry, president of the Northeast chapter of the Alliance for Women in Media and the creator and co-founder of Exceptional Women.  O'Terry is also a radio personality on WMJX-FM (Magic 106.7) in Boston.

For each Girl Scout who attends this taping, Armstrong will donate the cash equivalent of a box of Girl Scout cookies to the Girls Scouts Council of Eastern Massachusetts and a bonus of an additional donation if the girl wears her uniform or her badges, or both.

New Englanders may remember the catchy phrase "Star of the Day" as the theme song of the popular TV show "Community Auditions." It originated in Boston in 1950, and is New England's longest-running TV show and a forerunner of today's popular national TV talent shows.

Verizon FiOS TV customers have free video-on-demand access to "Community Auditions" programming, including the most recent episodes as well as those from prior years.  Those vintage shows include performances from contestants who have gone on to become celebrities, including comedian Sarah Silverman, who is from New Hampshire, and actor Scott Grimes of the TV show "ER," who grew up in Dracut, Mass.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 93 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 195,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.