Dwayne Lawson, 17, of Clinton Township, is part of the Detroit Youth Choir ensemble that was recently awarded a golden buzzer on the TV show “America’s Got Talent.” Pictured, Lawson and the choir perform at a Pistons game.

Dwayne Lawson, 17, of Clinton Township, is part of the Detroit Youth Choir ensemble that was recently awarded a golden buzzer on the TV show “America’s Got Talent.” Pictured, Lawson and the choir perform at a Pistons game.

Photo provided by Dwayne Lawson


CVHS student lives out dream on ‘America’s Got Talent’

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published July 8, 2019

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — A Chippewa Valley High School student is living out his dreams in front of the world.

Dwayne Lawson, 17, of Clinton Township, will be a CVHS senior this fall. Recently, he — along with about 60 of his friends in the Detroit Youth Choir — made a splash on national television.

On June 18, the choir was one of the featured acts on “America’s Got Talent.” It was the culmination of many months of hard work by the choir, which initially was rejected after a 2018 audition, but was encouraged to keep trying.

“Everyone who we performed for always said, ‘You guys should go on this show,’” Lawson said.

In mid-March, the group auditioned again. The Detroit Youth Concert Choir & Performing Arts Company is a nonprofit organization that services local youths, encouraging student development through music education, dance and theatrical arts.

After getting a “thumbs-up” to actually perform on the show, the group traveled to Los Angeles.

“The pictures, what I had known about California, the lifestyle — I know that when I leave high school, that’s where I want to go,” Lawson said.

Lawson said he and his choirmates stayed at a hotel with others who were also approved to be on the popular show. It was encouraging to meet others with similar dreams, he recounted.

Lawson recalled meeting show host Terry Crews, which he described as a “surreal” moment.

“When we first went into the building, that’s when it seemed like the real deal,” Lawson said. “It didn’t hit me until we walked in.”

He said the way the show operates is “literally like you see it on TV,” unscripted and ultimately up to the panel of four judges. The choir started out slow, in an effort to “trick everybody.”

“When we started rapping and doing all the dance moves, everybody started jumping up and screaming,” he said.

The choir, which performed “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, received the golden buzzer and will move on to the next stage. The choir will be going back to California in August to compete, offering the possibility of another golden buzzer and a third and final performance.

“We are all so proud of and happy for Dwayne, the Detroit Youth Choir, and for all that they represent,” said CVS choir director James Pecar, who teaches Lawson. “We are excited to see what happens next.”

Lawson said the choir met all the judges after the show, where hugs were ubiquitous and tears were flowing. For him personally, the experience was a dream come true.

He was able to meet judge Simon Cowell, who told Lawson that he and the choir did a superb job.

“My only hope that I have in life is music,” Lawson said. “I was really happy and excited that my dreams were coming true. … I really wanted this for my whole life. It’s just completely exciting and a lot to take in.”

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