WASHINGTON – They got their start singing the National Anthem in their swimsuits.
But Thursday afternoon, sisters Lindsay and Kasey Staniszewski were a long way from opening swim meets in Charles County. The girls, who are from Swan Point, were part of the pre-show entertainment at the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on the Ellipse, which meant they strolled through the crowd of chilly guests singing Christmas classics before the main event.
“So many people never even come to Washington, our nation’s capital,” said the pair’s mother, Kim Staniszewski, in an interview before the tree lighting. “I think they really feel honored to be a part of this even if it’s a small part.”
Lindsay, 17, and Kasey 14, have been singing and acting in local musical theatre productions since they were in elementary school, but didn’t start performing as a sister act until about four years ago.
One of their first performances was singing The Star Spangled Banner before their own swim meets.
“We’d sing in our Speedos,” said Lindsay. “We’d just sing and then dive into the pool.”
Since their splashy beginning, they have performed all over Charles County at school and church events, hospitals and anywhere else they’re invited. But it is an event like Thursday’s Pageant of Peace that they hope will garner attention from the music industry.
“We hope by doing these things someone will see us and we’ll make the right contacts,” said Lindsay. “We’re hoping someday we’ll make the main stage.”
The girls were in good company last night. Performers on the coveted main stage included gospel singer CeCe Winans and Broadway star Dale Kristien, along with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, who were on hand to flip the switch on the National Christmas tree.
“We feel very honored,” said Kasey, 14. “When we have seats so close to the president…It’s nice to be able to see him.”
The girls, who performed for the second year in a row, were tapped for the tree lighting through an event coordinator who also attends their church. As active members of both church and school, the singing sisters say they’ll make good role models for young girls if they ever do hit it big – unlike some of the other teeny pop acts on the charts today.
“We kind of consider ourselves all-American girls, so our image might be a little different than theirs,” said Lindsay. “We hold strong to our beliefs.”
The Staniszewski sisters sing mostly chart-topping pop and country songs, as well as Broadway tunes, but are hoping to recruit someone to write an original song for them to record as their next step on the road to fame.
“I would like for us to be famous…for us to hit it big,” said Kasey, describing her hopes for the sister act’s future.
But while they await their big break, the girls, who are honor students, remain active in school. Kasey, a freshman at La Plata, just made the school’s dance team. Lindsay, a senior at La Plata High School, is president of her class and applying to colleges. She hopes to stay in the area in order to continue singing with her sister.
“We’re really close in our relationship, we wouldn’t really think of doing anything without each other,” explained Kasey. They both still sing and race for their swim team.