Tyler Dale

Tyler Dale is an Angola High School senior and member of the Indiana National Guard.

ANGOLA — Angola High School senior Tyler Dale is putting his all into a chance at national stardom.

The first step — auditions Tuesday for “America’s Got Talent” at the Suburban Collection Showplace, Detroit. Tyler’s got the heart and has been spending his evenings practicing Old Dominion’s “One Man Band.”

Wednesday night, he was in the garage until 1 a.m., fine tuning his performance in preparation for the initial step of the “America’s Got Talent” process.

“I would like to go further,” said Tyler. “Lately, I’ve been singing constantly.”

His junior year at North Side High School, Fort Wayne, Tyler was in show choir. He also sang in choir when he went to Churubusco and for a year when he was going to school in Mishawaka. Tyler has also attended DeKalb Central and Garrett schools.

He has moved a lot with his mother, Abbie Willett, a Garrett native, through his school years.

“She was also in choir,” said Tyler.

Auditioning at an unfamiliar venue in Novi, Michigan, with a host of personalities he’s never met will be a new experience. This is the 15th season for the show, with auditions in nine major cities across the U.S. Detroit is the second to last audition site with the last on Feb. 1 in Los Angeles.

“I don’t like a lot of crowds but I want to get over that,” said Tyler. “Once I am up on stage I will be fine.”

He will get 90 minutes to shine and is putting his efforts into a stunning performance. Having considered the organization’s suggestions for contestants, he plans to go into the audition and act natural, just be himself.

Tyler’s bravery and willingness to face challenges head-on set him apart.

This past summer, he enrolled in the National Guard and spent a couple of hot months at the Warrior Training Center in Fort Benning, Georgia. He met other young men from across the nation and endured a rigorous fitness program.

Indiana National Guard soldiers can earn tuition benefits through scholarships and financial aid programs and take advantage of testing and other services. Tyler said he joined because he wants to see the world and for the adventure.

He had grandparents who were in the military and since the eighth grade, he said he was interested in the opportunity.

“I never thought I’d be able to throw a grenade, and I did,” said Tyler, ticking off a few other unique experiences he had this summer at Fort Benning.

He will continue to train on the weekends in Fort Wayne and anticipates serving six years in the National Guard.

Tyler isn’t overly outgoing and tends to keep to himself at school. His favorite subjects have been government, photography and construction trades. Up until an injury last year, he’s always played baseball, and said he might try out this year at AHS.

With an adventurous spirit as his guide, he continues to reach for new, interesting experiences. Next week, it will be “America’s Got Talent” auditions.

From there, the sky’s the limit.

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