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8 move on in ‘Long Island’s Got Talent’ contest

The judges called it one of the hardest decisions they’ve ever had to make, but after nearly three hours of performances, eight semifinalists were chosen Thursday night in the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s “Long Island’s Got Talent” competition.

The 27 Long Islanders who competed ranged from 10 to 17 years old and included solo vocalists, a rock band and a classical bassist. A handful of contestants also wrote original compositions.

The judges -- Bill Terry, promotional director for WALK-FM, Daria Semegen, a professor in Stony Brook University's music department, and Marie Danvers, adjunct theatre professor at Suffolk County Community College -- chose the semifinalists based on presentation, creativity and performance.

“This was the toughest job,” Terry said, adding that the judges collectively thought all of the 27 contestants were equally talented.

The semifinalists will perform together again on April 30 at the WMHO Education and Cultural Center in Stony Brook, and then separately in the WMHO’s Sunday evening concert series in July and August.

After each concert, the general public will have a chance to score the contestants, said Gloria Rocchio, WMHO president. Those results will be taken into consideration when judges choose five finalists at the end of the summer.

The five finalists will perform in October, and the top two contestants will receive $2,000 scholarships to Five Towns College. The first-place winner will also receive a $1,000-cash prize.

The eight semifinalists moving on to the next round are: Michael Chiarello of East Setauket, Anthony Funcheon of Commack, Corin Greene of Setauket, Julie Losner of West Merrick, Julia Pollina of East Setauket, Amelia Profaci of Huntington Station, Matthew VerStraten of Coram, and the Dix Hills-based band Spare Change, featuring lead singer Nico Marulli, guitarist Peter Rogu and drummer Jordan Trichon.

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