Rohan’s got talent: living the dream after chemo

Singer Rohan Herring, pictured with fiancee Rebecca Petrovska, won four medals at a global talent quest. Picture: DAVE TEASEWhile all eyes have been on our sports stars, an Albion Park singer has flexed his vocal cords to win a swag of medals at the “Olympics of the Performing Arts”.
Nanjing Night Net

Rohan Herring has just returned from Hollywood, where he claimed a gold and three silver medals at The World Championships of Performing Arts where competitors go head-to-head in a range of competitions.

The 24-year-old auditioned for the international talent quest following a debilitating course of chemotherapy after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in May last year.

“I was doing weights at home when the bar hit my chest. I thought I’d cracked a rib so I got an X-ray and a 15-centimetre tumour was discovered on my chest,” he said.

“They couldn’t operate as it had wrapped around my left lung and heart so I underwent stage four chemotherapy, which fortunately was successful in getting rid of the cancer.

“After the treatment, my whole outlook on life changed. I thought, ‘Life’s too short, I’m going to do what I’ve always wanted to do, I’m not going to be afraid to just go for it’.”

Go for it he did, sending off his audition tape to the Australian talent scout who chose him out of thousands of hopefuls to be part of the 54-strong national squad to compete in the United States.

His rendition of Walking in Memphis won him gold in the male 18-24 vocal pop section, and he came second in his contemporary, R&B/soul/jazz and broadway sections.

“I’ve done a lot of competitions in the Illawarra and Sydney, plus I was a featured artist in Southern Stars in 2004 and 2005,” he said.

“I’ve also done shows at IPAC, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and The Pirates of Penzance and I’ve worked alongside my mentor Scott Radburn on many occasions.

“But I’ve never done anything on such an international scale before. I had to sing against 3652 competitors from 40 countries during 10 days of competition, and it was pretty surreal to win those medals.”

This is the 16th year of the global talent quest founded by Griff O’Neil, a former executive of the Miss Universe pageant.

In 2012 he recruited more than 75 scouts to scour the globe for outstanding talent, with more than 75,000 applicants auditioning for a spot in the July event.

“This is the only Olympic-style talent competition ever created and a rare opportunity for the privileged few selected to participate at this elite world event,” O’Neil said.

Herring is back home, polishing his medals and planning to record an album. Plus he has another reason to celebrate – while in the US he got engaged to his girlfriend Rebecca Petrovska.

“She’s been my rock,” he said. “Finally some good things are happening in my life.”

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