The Apollo Theater in New York City is where all the legendary singers have performed in history.
Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin and many other legends in the music industry, especially of the R&B and soul genre, performed on that stage.
Henderson’s own Hunt Pipkin was not only able to go to the historic theater, but he performed on the stage himself last week.
Pipkin said he was a little nervous at first, but the stage’s history being his element pushed the butterflies out of his stomach. Pipkin’s genre of music that he enjoys singing the most is old school R&B, and once he started singing and heard the crowd’s reaction after the first verse, the rhythm and his passion took control.
“I was a little nervous. I’ve been to NYC before, so I knew what to expect as far as being in the city. The fact I was actually singing in NYC didn’t really hit me until I actually walked into theater for band rehearsal,” he said. “Honestly, when I sang the first line at The Apollo, and the crowd went wild, I got so hyped on stage I kinda zoned out and something took over my body. I love singing old school R&B. You can feel it in your soul, and I feel the emotions written into the songs when I sing them. I love singing all genres, but that’s probably my favorite.”
Pipkin performed the well-known James Brown song, “It’s a Man’s World.”
The performance was Pipkin’s largest with the Apollo Theater being filled on all three tiers, so this was an indescribable experience for him.
“All three-tiers of the theater were packed! Singing in such a historic theater was awesome, and of course, singing to a live audience in New York City was crazy,” he expressed. “This is the 89th year of The Apollo Theater. The thing that was so awesome about performing on that stage is that so many famous people such as Etta James, Michael Jackson, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and many, many others have performed on that same stage. I can’t really describe the feeling.”
When Pipkin entered the stage, he did as many did before him and rubbed the “Tree of Hope.”
“I’ve seen videos of Showtime at the Apollo, and realize how many people have rubbed that stump. Mrs. Kathy, the Apollo show director, told about the history of the tree stump! My mom told me if I didn’t remember anything else, to remember to rub the stump! It was so cool.”
Pipkin earned this amazing opportunity after his mom, Lee Pipkin, sent in a video submission of him singing in the 2023 Miss Tennessee Pageant, and they emailed her back the next week asking him to come sing.
The opportunity was to be a part of the Apollo’s “Amateur Night.” “Amateur Night at the Apollo is looking for the best singers, dancers, comedians, rappers, spoken word artists, variety acts, and musicians. Every Wednesday, amateurs from all over hit the world-famous Apollo Theater Stage at the legendary, live weekly talent competition. Those chosen from the audition will have the chance to perform and compete for the grand prize of up to $20,000.”
Pipkin returned to NYC and the Apollo Theater on Wednesday, September 13, after advancing in the Amateur Night Auditions on September 9.
Regardless if he wins, Pipkin is just ecstatic about the experience he was able to have.
“I met some really talented people from all over the country and one from Japan! Some had been on American Idol, etc. I love meeting people and making new connections. I go back this Wednesday, Sept 13th, to sing again. If I win, I get to go to semi-finals in November. The audience votes, so who knows. If I don’t win, then I have awesome memories, an awesome experience, and can say I’ve sang at THE Apollo Theater in NYC!”