By: Dale King Contributing Writer
This year’s Boca Raton Bowl – the sixth in the annual series that began in 2014 at Florida Atlantic University’s football stadium – will see some changes when bowl time spirals around this December.
Not only will the 2019 pigskin clash move from a normally mundane Tuesday night to a football-loaded Saturday afternoon, it will leap to the American Broadcasting Company – ABC – for broadcast across the nation. It will also be carried on ESPN radio and, locally, on ESPN 106.3 FM.
But the uniqueness doesn’t end there. This year, the pre-game National Anthem – sung by individual vocalists before each game for the past five years – will be performed by a brother-sister duo from Deerfield Beach whose powerful voices and razor-sharp harmonies dazzled the audience inside the Boca Raton Innovation Campus (BRIC) on Aug. 1.
Before a packed house filled with city and county officials, business and community leaders, finalists’ friends, family and fans, eight finalists took the stage – and Evelyn and Raphael Martins, a sister/brother pair from just south of the Broward line, took top honors.
They outdistanced a field of first-rate singers in the 2019 Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl Idol talent competition presented by Marshall Grant, PLLC.
After performing live in two rounds, 31-year-old Evelyn and her 28-year-old brother won the opportunity to sing the National Anthem before the bowl game on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 3:30 p.m. at FAU Stadium.
Before launching into their first tune, “Speechless,” from Disney’s Aladdin, Evelyn said, “We love each other; we love singing. We want to inspire others with our music.”
The field of competitors was narrowed to eight prior to the Aug. 1 finale. Chosen through an open-to-the-public round of online voting, the eight finishers ranged in age from 13 to 44 and hailed from Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hobe Sound, Port St. Lucie and Wellington. Each performed a song of their choice for the live audience and a combination of audience votes and judges’ selections determined the top three.
Also finishing among the highest-ranked finalists were:
- Hannah Crampton-Thomas, 20, a vocalist from Boca Raton who sang “They Just Keep Moving the Line”
- Emily Rubino, 15, also from Boca Raton, who sang “Don’t Rain on My Parade.”
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Evelyn and Raphael have been singing together since their early teens and are highly involved with their church community at Christ Fellowship in Palm Beach County. They regularly post songs to their YouTube channel called “MartinsMusic.”
Evelyn, who works at Mobile Help at BRIC and Raphael, who works at Language Line Solutions, said they are “excited to sing the National Anthem to honor our country and the freedom we have.”
ESPN radio personality, Ken LaVicka, served as emcee for the night’s event.
The panel of judges included:
- Adam Marshall, a partner in Marshall Grant, PLLC. He was the National Anthem competition’s presenting sponsor
- Jason Elias, promotion manager for Interscope Geffen A&M Records South East Regional
- Kendra Erika, a Boca Raton residential who has earned international fame as a singer/songwriter and Billboard recording artist. She sang the National Anthem at the first Boca Bowl.
- Molly Jade Vogel, a theater, film, TV and vocal performer.
“Every year the national anthem competition talent is stronger, the live finalists’ rounds more entertaining and the audience more spirited in support of Boca Chamber Festival Days and our charitable partner, Spirit of Giving,” said Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl Executive Director Doug Mosley.
The event kicked off the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce’s Festival Days held annually in August. Money raised benefited the Bowl’s charity partner, Spirit of Giving, and its Back to School Bash.
Also performing in the competition were:
- Alexis Bentinganan, 13, vocalist, Port St. Lucie; student at Lincoln Park Academy.
- Maria Gabriela Esquivel, 38, vocalist, Fort Lauderdale.
- Student at Florida Atlantic University School of Music. She is an artist/author of “Gema, the Curious Butterfly”; singer of “Musical Experience” at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, a program created to help heal patients through music.
- Alyssa Porter, 15, vocalist, Hobe Sound, student at Jensen Beach High School.
- Emily Shecter, 18, vocalist, Wellington. Student studying musical theater.
- Carla Hicks, 44, vocalist, Boynton Beach. Works at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches as a care support specialist.
For more information on the 2019 Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl, visit www.cheribundibocaratonbowl.com.