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July 3, 2013

Manchester girl to belt it out before fireworks

DANVERS — If the weather holds, there’s going to be fireworks in the sky and on the stage tonight.

Alexandra Valenti, 17, of Manchester, an incoming Manchester Essex Regional High School senior, will be wowing the crowd on stage with “American Idol” top 10 contestant Erika Van Pelt and her band. Van Pelt and her band are scheduled to headline the stage show from 8 to 9 p.m., before the rockets light up the night sky at the Danvers Family Festival’s fireworks. (The rain date for the event is Friday, July 5.)

Rhode Island’s Van Pelt, a Season 11 finalist of “American Idol,” was a judge for the annual Danvers Idol singing talent contest, held at Danvers High on Friday. During that event, Valenti was crowned the new Danvers Idol, beating out nine other finalists for the top prize of $500. The win also gave Valenti a chance to perform at the fireworks.

The stage show, which kicks off at 6 p.m., is meant to entertain the crowd as it files into a fenced-in Plains Park. New security measures have been put in place due to the Boston Marathon bombings.

Along with Van Pelt and Valenti, the stage show will include a lot of local talent, including Kate Eppers of Danvers, who has worked with the Cape Ann Big Band.

After the stage show, there will be a patriotic program at 9 p.m., and the winner of the 50/50 raffle will be announced at 9:15. The so-called “best fireworks north of Boston” display is scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m.

Valenti said she is excited to perform at the fireworks. She started doing open mike shows about a year ago, and has gotten a lot of gigs after singing at her English teacher’s wedding last July. She often donates money she earns from shows to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer foundation.

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