“The bigger the hair, the higher the heels, the closer to Heaven.”
Girlstories Leadership Theatre (GLT) is a comprehensive theatre arts program for middle school girls living in Hillsborough County. In 2010, GLT was awarded the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House. Then in 2011 and 2013, GLT was honored by international singing star Josh Groban in front of 12000 fans.
LaQuenta Bastian, 17, became a member of the Girlstories Leadership Theatre when she was in 6th grade. Although she was excited to be surrounded by girls who shared the same passion, she struggled with confidence. “She sang in a whisper. But after the first day, I knew she had been bitten by the bug, and the Girlstories program was perfect for LaQuenta,” said her mother Lenora Bastian.
Originally from the Bahamas, LaQuenta, then age 7, and her family came to the United States for a better opportunity; one of those opportunities included singing for LaQuenta.
“When LaQuenta was in her mother’s stomach, I laid my hands upon her and prayed that she would have a voice of an angel. I knew she would become a singer, even before she was born,” explains Quentin Bastian, LaQuenta’s father. “I am the Minister of Faith Works Factory Church in Pasco County, and LaQuenta graces the community with her beautiful voice every Sunday”.
Due to life circumstances, LaQuenta could not continue the Girlstories program at Powerstories Theatre. Regardless, Fran Powers and others stayed in contact with her and invited her back to perform at the Girlstories Annual Gala. Then, at the age of 14, LaQuenta auditioned for “America’s Got Talent”. Although she did not continue on the show, Girlstories had given LaQuenta the confidence that she needed to believe in her ability to truly follow her dream of singing.
In 9th grade, LaQuenta attended Blake High School where she studied musical theatre. During the school year, many of her peers talked highly of Berklee College of Music. LaQuenta ended up graduating from River Ridge High School, and during her senior year she auditioned for Berklee at an Orlando audition. She sang “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by Ella Fitzgerald and nailed it. LaQuenta earned a scholarship to attend the school in Massachusetts, and the good people of Powerstories Theatre made a pledge to assist her with the cost of books.
“I realized that my passion and lifetime dream for singing can now grow into a career. I would love to be a professional working artist that brings a modern jazz twist on pop,” says LaQuenta. “I want people to love Etta James as much as I do.”
Unfortunately, in spite of all of the help the Bastian family has received in support of LaQuenta’s education, her dream may come crashing down on her if they don’t receive additional funding. Her father has setup a donation site for the community to show their support and donate towards making her dream come true. Please visit http://www.gofundme.com/84in6s to help!
“We are so proud and happy that LaQuenta was in Girlstories Leadership Theatre. She has continued to be active with us, and we have been delighted but not surprised to see this AMAZING woman she has become. LaQuenta, I celebrate your success and hope this dream becomes reality,” says Janice Nepon-Sixt, Director of Girls Programs.
For more informatin on Powerstories Theatre or the GLT program, go to www.powerstories.com or call 813-253-2000.
PO Box 18021
Tampa, FL 33679