Jennie Beverly remembers the moment the American Military Spouses Choir stepped onto the stage to audition for the TV show “America’s Got Talent” in Chicago.
“As soon as we announced who we were, the people were chanting ‘USA’ and all of this, and it was just a mind-blowing experience to feel all of the joy, the pride, the happiness that people felt,” Beverly said.
The crowd hadn’t even heard the group sing a note yet.
“It just made us very emotional and we got a standing ovation after the audition and we went straight through,” Beverly said.
Beverly, a 27-year-old mother of two, is married to Staff Sgt. Byron Beverly, an MV-22 Osprey aviation mechanic at Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 at New River.
Her husband is an 11-year Marine who has spent much of his career at Cherry Point before a recent transfer.
He said he and the couple’s two young children have been sitting around the television to watch each performance.
“It’s been pretty crazy really,” he said. “Everyone gets real excited when they see her on TV. My son runs up to the TV and points her out. My daughter just kind of smiles at the TV and whatnot. It’s just happiness seeing her go out and do something that she’s always wanted to do.”
He said he often hears his wife sing around the house, many times in the shower.
“She sounds pretty good. The acoustics in our bathroom are awesome,” he said.
One of her biggest supporters is Havelock broker Brenda Wilson, of Keller Williams Realty.
“I just think that our whole town needs to be screaming and yelling for Jenny,” Wilson said.
Wilson was the family’s realtor when they bought their house in New Bern.
“She’s like my second mother,” Jennie Beverly said of Wilson. “If I ever need somebody to talk to, she’s always there. Since I’m not from North Carolina — I’m from Ohio — she’s always there if I need her.”
The top prize in the TV show contest is $1 million, and the group is getting closer and closer. They are in the semifinals, and Jennie Beverly is just waiting for word when she will have to return to New York for the next level of competition.
She is one of three Eastern North Carolina military wives in the 37-member choir. Also members are Ashley Heaton, wife of Marine Cpl. Josh Heaton from Camp Lejeune, and Laurie Massie, wife of Navy Lt. Cmdr. Marc Massie, chaplain at New River.
Jennie Beverly said she was first invited to join the choir in May of 2012, when she got the opportunity to sing at the Kennedy Center in Washington.
“It was originally supposed to be a one-time thing, but they saw that we were awesome wives and they decided to move on with it to keep us together, which was surprising because we weren’t expecting it at all,” she said. “We were just amazed that we got to perform at the Kennedy Center.”
Beverly said that when the group finally got the chance to sing at their audition for the television show, it was a powerful version of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” that brought down the house.
“It was amazing. It was like all of our dreams came true right then and there to be able to lift everyone’s spirits with our voices and to let people know that we had voices too,” she said. “It was emotional. It’s very hard to keep it together, but it happens so quickly that you really don’t have time to think about that moment. That 90 seconds goes by just like that. One minute we’re starting the song and the next minute it’s over.”
The four judges advanced the group, which next performed the hit song “Hero” at Radio City Music Hall on Aug. 7.
Jennie Beverly works as a pharmacist technician at Target in New Bern, where co-workers have been very supportive.
“They support me 100 percent,” she said. “They are really excited about this next round. They want to make posters and hang them around. They want to wear badges. That’s what they did when I went to New York for the live rounds when we sung ‘Hero.’ They made name badges that said ‘Ask me why to vote for Jennie.’ When I got back it was like I was a little celebrity.”
She said she has not watched the show yet with her family.
“They’ve seen it. My son just thinks it’s amazing. He’s like ‘Wow mom. You’re beautiful and you guys are awesome,’” she said. “I don’t know of any way to explain it. It’s just an incredible experience.”
“America’s Got Talent” airs at 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays on NBC.