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Nonprofit Gives Disadvantaged Kids a Moment in the Spotlight

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Tuesday night, stars in the making will perform at Radio City Music Hall in a big concert and talent show that is free and open to the public. NY1's Stephanie Simon filed the following report.

With high stakes rehearsals, celebrity coaches and a big concert coming up at Radio City Music Hall, you might think this is "America's Got Talent," or some other reality TV competition.

It's not, though. This is Garden of Dreams, where kids who face tremendous hardships find another reality through the performing arts.

For instance, seven and eight-year-old brothers Alex and Ivan Antropov-Kalashnikov, whose family lost everything to Hurricane Sandy. They've since taken up classical guitar.

SIMON: "Is it exciting?"
ANTROPOV-KALASHNIKOV: "Yes."
SIMON: "Why?"
ANTROPOV-KALASHNIKOV: "Because we're going to be famous."

Garden of Dreams creates once-in-a-lifetime experiences for kids in need all year long.

The upcoming annual talent show is always a favorite, and because this non-profit charity is affiliated with the Madison Square Garden Company, these kids get input from a host of famous performers, including RUN DMC's Darryl McDaniels, and Ryan McCartan of Disney Channel fame.

"Today they gave me the advice of I can walk around but towards the chorus, stay in one spot," says aspiring singer Matthew Martinez.

SIMON: "And if you have time later, will you sign an autograph for me?"
MARTINEZ: "Sure."

Here's some great advice for the rest of us too!

"There are going to be people in that audience who are going to be able to say 'I saw them when...' because there are some kids here who can really get to the top," says Garden of Dreams mentor Ryan McCartan.

Like 12 and nine-year-old Malcom and Shadaje Small from Brooklyn.

Despite his health troubles, Malcom fought back against being bullied through a rap song he wrote with his dad and sister.

"I sang it in front of the bully that was bullying me and sure enough he stopped," Small says.

More than 100 youngsters will take the stage at the upcoming Garden of Dreams concert June 17 at 7 p.m.

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