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TV show creates girl group

Local reality program follows band’s efforts to make it big

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OREM — It's been a whirlwind summer for four Utah girls picked to form a singing group for the locally produced television reality show "Create the Group."

Caterer-turned producer Sam Schultz began putting the show together last March with the assistance of David Loeffler, Jenny Jordan Frogley and Rudy Wolfgramm, formerly with The Jets. The three served as judges during months of auditions that spanned the state from Provo to St. George.

They came up with a quartet comprised of Danja Bean, 16, of Sandy; Taylor, 15, and Shanae Vaifanua, 17, of St. George and Madi Murdock, 14, of North Salt Lake.

"Create the Group," which airs is on KJZZ Sundays at 6 p.m. follows the girls as they work to make it big in the music industry.

The producers are putting the young women through their paces, rehearsing and performing in Utah and Idaho. Their high school studies are done online, Schultz said.

On Sept. 19 the quartet sang and danced in a live concert at the SCERA Center for the Arts. Still young in the business — it's only been a couple of months — their blend, though tight, hasn't yet matured, but their dancing and energy carry them through.

The one-hour concert, "Standing for Something," was part of SCERA's 2007-08 Wednesday Night Live Series.

The Vaifanua sisters were dancers in the Disney film "High School Musical." Ironically their performance at the SCERA was on the "High School Musical" set.

Bean was the first picked for the group.

"I've been through most of the drama," she said of her experience watching the staff form the group.

When they couldn't find the singers they wanted at the Provo auditions they trekked to St. George where they signed the Vaifanua sisters. Then it was back to Provo and the Historic Southworth Hall on Center Street for more auditions. Finally, they found Murdock.

"This is a put-together-group that we molded and formed," Schultz said. "They have a full team behind them."

Most of the pop songs the teens sing were written by David Devaney, aka Double D, who also serves as their dance instructor and choreographer. During their SCERA concert the girls also threw in some Jackson 5, complete with moves similar to the popular group of the 1970s.

The girls' parents accompany the singers because of their young age.

Taylor Vaifanua is happy to work with her adopted sister, Shanae.

Shanae's dancing sold Schultz.

"We had to find out if she could sing and she could," he said.

The girls have their first 10-song album coming out this fall as they prepare for a national tour. But first they have to get a name.

Naming the group is the subject of a contest explained on the Web site www.createthegroup.net.

Among their adventures so far is a trip to Las Vegas, where they stayed at singer Lionel Richie's home (Loeffler is his manager).

"It was unreal," Taylor Vaifanua said,

"We're excited for the future. We love each other and are glad to be working with each other," Shanae Vaifanua said.

E-mail: rodger@desnews.com