Addison Agen proves to be the Christmas gift northeast Indiana has always wanted

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Fort Wayne, Ind.– It is eight days before Christmas. But for people invested in the outcome of this season of “The Voice,” it feels as though Christmas has come, or will come early. The discussion of Addison Agen’s lasting participation on “The Voice” and the thought that she might “win the whole thing” is making some area residents giddy.

It isn’t just area residents who are excited for the teenager. The mayor of Fort Wayne, Tom Henry, has pledged his support and has stated in a videotaped spot that “… all 265,000 residents are behind” Agen. The message is a surprise for a couple of reasons: one, I thought we were closer to 400,000 people, and two, the mayor is invested. Maybe it is the mood of the season, but the mayor’s message is rather sweet.

Having lived in northeast Indiana for most of my life, with the exception of living elsewhere for educational purposes, there are few incidents that inspire this level of excitement around here. The most recent that I can recall is a girls’ basketball game in the 1980s. A local high school’s team made it to the state finals. The game was televised from Indianapolis. I witnessed people who had never watched girls’ basketball before suddenly invested in the game’s outcome.

Agen’s performance on “The Voice” has had that effect on people. People who were not thinking about “The Voice” or any other performance-based show suddenly care. They want her to do well.  Confession: I am one of those people. Disappointed in the outcome of previous seasons of “The Voice,” I wrote it off. Then, Agen came along. Not only is she from my hometown, her high school is in my neighborhood. A library near my house is one of the official “The Voice” viewing stations in town. I feel obligated to care. At this point, I am not sure what some of us will do when this season is over. Well, besides supporting Agen’s career, regardless of the show’s results.

Support for Agen extends beyond her hometown. The governor of Indiana, Eric Holcomb, and a local hair salon, The Hair Department, have all wished Agen well today via recorded spots. Previously, car dealerships and restaurants have also pledged their support.

The well-wishes help build excitement because only Agen and those closest to her (and of course those associated with the show) know the outcome. So, a city waits. And watches. And listens as a teenager with a sweet spirit sings her heart out. Her supporters hope that a nation of viewers agree with them. At least the season is almost over, and no matter what her actual place is among the top four, Agen will be a champion to her hometown.

 

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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