SECAUCUS -- Commuters in New Jersey won't have to venture to New York to hear musicians playing in train stations.
New Jersey Transit today held auditions for New Jersey musicians who will be serenading commuters Friday nights at three stations -- Hoboken Terminal, the Frank R. Lautenberg Station at Secaucus Junction, and Newark Penn Station -- as part of the agency's "Music in Motion" concert series set to begin at the end of the month.
The musicians won't be paid but will be able to solicit donations during their two-hour performances, officials said.
Today's auditions at Secaucus Junction featured a solo and duo acts, including three Hudson County performers.
For Estrella Rojas, who moved temporarily to West New York just last week, this could mean an open door for an income for her and her 9-year-old daughter, Samira. NJ Transit will not provide compensation for those selected, but selected performers will be able to receive tips and can sell merchandise.
"Apart from being able to work, this will allow me to do what I love. When I sing, I’m just happy," said Estrella Rojas, who lives in West New York with her 9-year-old daughter, Samira. "And the most important thing to do is to get people to sing with me."
Previously a music teacher and street performer, Rojas sings in several languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Latin, and Hebrew.
Brian Miguel, a Union City resident, and Kristen Veloria, of Jersey City, also tried out. They both play guitar and sing. Miguel, a veteran street performer, sang about scenes in the New York subway system.
"The contestants are of such variety," said Tess Giardina, who works the box office for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and plays the trombone was one the judges. "We’re looking for something that moves, but isn’t too out there or in your face."
Mary Eileen Fouratt, executive director of the Monmouth County Arts Council, expressed admiration for the many talented locals.
"This will add so much to the stations," she said. "People will hear something unexpected and will see great musicians sharing their gifts. It will lift people’s spirits."
After a three-month trial period, the program will expand to more terminals across the state.
More auditions will be held in the near future for the "Music in Motion" program. Chosen contestants may also be in the running to perform in some capacity during next year’s Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.