Before there was Sam Woolf, there was Syesha Mercado.
Mercado, who attended Daughtrey Elementary School and Manatee School for the Arts, finished third on the seventh season of "American idol." She's since gone on to a successful musical theater career, including a leading role in the national tour of "Dreamgirls."
Mercado is returning to the area this weekend to perform with the Sarasota Orchestra in a pops concert at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota on Saturday.
She'll sing songs that have become American standards, including "Fever," "At Last" and "Listen" from "Dreamgirls."
The show is billed as "A Salute to American Idols," but that doesn't refer to the show. The orchestra will offer orchestral interpretations of music made famous by such quintessentially American stars as Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong, Stevie Wonder and Judy Garland. The orchestra will also salute Olympians, pioneers of the American West and members of the armed forces. A narrated, musical rendition of the Gettysburg Address will highlight the military salute.
Andrew Lane conducts the orchestra.
Details: 7:30 p.m. May 9, Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St., Sarasota. Tickets: $15 and up for adults, $5 for students. Information: 941-893-6300, sarasotaorchestra.org.
-- Marty Clear