Local fourth-grader steps into spotlight at U.S. Open

Nine-year-old Daniel Kaznowski was selected to sing at the U.S. Open from more than 200 YouTube audition submissions.

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — The distance between Scotch Plains and Flushing Meadows is a lot shorter than the leap from the fourth grade to a crowd of 24,000 at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships. Nine-year-old Dan Kaznowski is ready to make both.

After being selected from more than 200 YouTube auditioners, Dan is preparing to sing at a night session at the tennis tournament on Sept. 10.

He will perform an a cappella version of “America the Beautiful” alongside 10 other talented young vocalists at Arthur Ashe Stadium prior to the evening sessions before the final Grand Slam event.

The U.S. Open has hosted “Open Anthem Auditions” for 10 years, and this is the third year online auditions were used to filter the search. Approximately 50 children between the ages of 7 and 14 received a live call back in front of top music and entertainment industry judges. In early July, a total of 12 young vocalists were chosen from New Jersey, New York, Hawaii, Florida and Arizona. Dan is the youngest.

The young vocalist initially auditioned several years ago, but was ultimately not chosen. It was not until last year at the tennis tournament with his parents that Dan expressed interest in auditioning again.

After Overland Entertainment viewed Dan’s YouTube audition, which he submitted May 12, the last eligible day, he received the Manhattan callback, which resulted in a congratulatory email weeks later.

“On audition day, Daniel was as cool as a cucumber. The staff at Overland Entertainment was so friendly; they made us feel welcomed and part of the team already, somehow,” Dan’s mother, Lisa Kaznowski, said.

While this may be Dan’s big debut performance, he is no stranger to the spotlight. His most recent recital featured an excerpt from “Preludio I” by Johann Sebastian Bach. Dan also performed the “Star Spangled Banner” when his Little League baseball team played at Montclair State University in late July.

During the past three years, Dan has been learning classical piano and, in preparation for his U.S. Open performance, he took summer singing lessons with Claudia Escalante, the music director at his North Plainfield school.

Lisa Kaznowski described Dan’s passion to LocalSource in a Aug. 29 interview, stressing his focus on music in his even younger days.
“Daniel’s involvement in music goes back to his very early years,” she said. “There are two pictures hanging on the wall in our home that he colored at his first intro to music class when he was 3 years old.”

The U.S. Open is expected to draw more than 700,000 attendees during its two-week span this year. According to the U.S. Open website, previous music performers have gone on to sing in Broadway musicals and top singing competitions on television, including “America’s Got Talent” and “The Voice.”

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