If you can sing, you may have been in a few high school and local musicals. If you can really sing, you may have been the star of the musical or performed the national anthem for high school football games.
But if you can really, really sing – like Ally Rose Marella – you have gone above and beyond, singing the national anthem on the big stages at Lancaster Speedway, Buffalo Bisons games and, more recently, before a Buffalo Bills game.
And she is only 11 years old.
Now, the sixth-grader at Ohio Elementary School in North Tonawanda is setting her sights on the national stage, competing to perform the national anthem at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
That is the largest prize money rodeo in the world, and will draw thousands to Las Vegas for the event Dec. 1-10.
Ally was selected for the competition after her mother, Michelle, submitted a YouTube video of her singing the anthem at the first Buffalo Bills preseason game in August.
Ally was the youngest person to be chosen to perform by the Bills. Her dad, Michael, shot the video from the sidelines, and Ally’s joy is clear as she finishes her performance and does flips and one-handed cartwheels on her way back to the sidelines.
“She loved the energy of the crowd,” said her mother.
She has remained alive in the Las Vegas competition, as the list of entrants in the youth category started at 25 and was whittled to 10 and then to three.
“I submitted her video not thinking it was going to go anywhere, and then they picked her for the top 25,” said Michelle Marella.
To win a two-day, all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas to sing the anthem, she still needs the support – and more importantly votes – of her fans.
Final voting begins Monday and continues through Oct. 6. People are able to vote daily for Ally.
Ally also dances, plays piano and performs with Matt’s Music Vocal Performance Team, which performs in nursing homes and at local festivals and events.
She also composes her own music, competes in talent shows and was selected to play the part of young Fiona in North Tonawanda High School’s upcoming production of “Shrek the Musical.”
“I don’t know where she gets it from,” her mother said of her talent. “Nobody in our family is musical.”
Ally said she loves to sing in front of a crowd.
“I’m super excited,” she said of the chance to go to Las Vegas. “I love to perform and be on stage.”
She said her performance in the stadium at the Bills game was “so awesome.”
“It’s really fun when you get in the moment,” Ally said.
Without a second’s hesitation, she is clear on her future goal.
“I want to be on Broadway,” said Ally, the oldest of three.
Her younger sisters, Abby, 9, and Anna, 5, also attend Ohio Elementary.