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B’ville girl to kick off fundraiser

Battle of the Bands to raise money for Stand Against Suicide

— Payton Bird is a born performer.

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Payton Bird, 11, performs during the Tuesday Night Open Mic Night at Cross Lake Inn & Marina.

This Saturday, the 11-year-old Ray Middle School student, who has developed a following at the Open Mic Nights at the Cross Lake Inn & Marina, will be the opening act for 18 bands as she kicks off Battle of the Bands, a fundraiser for Stand Against Suicide.

"It is great to know that I am involved in something that can help people a lot," Bird said.

The event, presented by Stand Against Suicide and CNY Rock Productions, features local bands, all of whom auditioned for a slot in the competition. Each artist will perform for 30 minutes. The winning band receives $1,000 cash. Other prizes include a recording session and a photo shoot.

Bird was approached for the gig after SAS President Tara Denee watched a Facebook video of one of Bird’s performances.

“We all agreed it would be a great opportunity for her and booked it,” said Stacy Alexander, Payton’s mom. “Payton is pretty excited to be doing this. It will be her biggest crowd to date.”

Bird will perform from 11:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 20, at the SRC Arena and will then sing the national anthem at noon to kick things off.

According to Alexander, Payton is not new to the stage as she has performed in school functions and local talent competitions.

“[Payton] has recently gained a little bit more notoriety and has developed a little following. She had her first real gig last fall at a Fall Harvest Festival in Utica performing a half hour set by herself,” Alexander said. “People kept asking when and where she was going to be performing/singing, so we set up a Facebook Fan page for her that has gotten a lot of positive feedback.”

While her future career is not yet set in stone, Bird has set her hopes on performing.

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