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An Emotional Performance Tugs on the Heartstrings from Rogue Valley

An original song titled, “Leave a Message,” from the Rogue Valley Youth Correctional Facility is the focus of this 2022 PbS Kids Got Talent Contest Finalist Spotlight. 

The artist opens the performance with a phone to his ear, listening ring by ring to the absence of someone on the other end of the line. An automated recording of a woman’s voice finally fills the void. “Hello. No one is available to take your call at this time,” the robotic voice drones. “Please Leave a Message.” Frustrated, the artist slams down the phone, and the screen slides seamlessly to a shot of him sitting on a concrete wall surrounded by a massive fence topped with barbed wire.

“I dedicate this song to my mother,” raps the artist. “If it wasn’t for you the kids would still have their big brother and I would have them too/but now I’m left here lonely with the pain you put me through/you say you’re trying to find yourself/but you’re just running from the truth/these drugs they got you trippin’ makin’ claims without no proof…you used to give me hope/but now every time I say your name it makes me choke…”

“Cinematic!” one Selection Committee member said of the performance, while others applauded the gut-wrenching honesty of an artist bravely willing to bare his soul.

“Your story and vulnerability are a testament to the duality in life. Keep sharing your art and don't allow your circumstances to determine your destiny,” encouraged another Committee member. “This song really tugs on the heartstrings!” said another.

Don’t miss this brilliant performance yet be forewarned—come with a tissue in hand.

Watch the performance here.

The annual PbS Kids Got Talent Contest invites all young people in PbS facilities and programs across the country to submit their talents for a chance to show off their skills. This year, Performance-based Standards (PbS) received 55 entries from 63 young people in 8 states and 22 different facilities. After careful consideration, 12 finalist performances were selected and shared with the Kids Got Talent Selection Committee.

Each of the 12 performances will be featured in the 2022 PbS Kids Got Talent Contest Finalist Spotlight blog over the coming weeks as our committee determines a solo winner and a group winner. The winners will be selected based on creativity, stage presence and talent. The winning soloist will perform live at the PbS Awards Night in August.

Read more about:  Kids Got Talent

About the author

Lisa Duffy

Lisa Duffy

Lisa Duffy is a program assistant for the PbS Learning Institute. She holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has extensive experience in writing, editing, and content creation for private, healthcare, and non-profit organizations. A published novelist with three book club favorites from Simon & Schuster, Lisa’s writing can be found in numerous literary journals, print, and online publications.

PbS has been a partner in assisting this facility to become a dynamic work environment that is not satisfied with maintaining the status quo.