Son of ex-A.L. residents is on ‘Got Talent’

Published 9:59 am Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A couple who used to live in Albert Lea have been excitedly watching their son compete on a national reality show talent competition.

Jack and Nancy Hockenberry, now of Anoka, lived in Albert Lea for 23 years until earlier this year. Their son, Tim, 50, is a graduate of Owatonna High School and is one of less than 20 semifinalists on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

The talent show features singers, dancers and other performers all competing for a $1 million prize. In most of the seasons, judges are no longer able to vote when semifinals begin, and contestants rely on votes from TV viewers to advance.

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The show is in its seventh season, and it premiered May 14. Nancy said Tim sings and plays piano on the show. He auditioned in San Francisco in February.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Nancy said. “He’s quite a talented kid.”

Nancy said it was interesting to see the audition episodes in May, because not all those who tried out seemed especially talented. She said Jack had joked that “maybe it should be called ‘America’s Got No Talent.’” Nancy said then Tim made the trip to Las Vegas, and that show aired June 24. Then Tim traveled to New York for live shows on July 10 and 11. She expects the next episode will be at the end of August.

“We’re very proud of him,” Nancy said.

Nancy said until earlier this year she and Jack had lived in Albert Lea for 23 years. They moved to Anoka to be closer to their daughter. Before living in Albert Lea they had lived in Owatonna, where Tim graduated high school in 1980. Nancy said Tim had been a member of the concert choir and a soloist.

“I was so surprised the day he came home and said he had a tenor solo,” Nancy said.

Tim had also spent two years with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Nancy said she and Jack went to see the group when it passed through the Twin Cities. Nancy said it was somewhat by chance that he got to audition for the reality show, but said that she thinks he’s enjoyed his time so far. She and Jack have enjoyed watching him perform and hearing what the judges have said about him.

“Howard Stern just loved him,” Nancy said.

For now Nancy and Jack will keep watching to see how far Tim will go on the show. She said Tim does know how to play the trombone but noted he hasn’t played it on the show. It’s a possibility for the future, though.

“I love to hear him sing,” Nancy said. “We’re waiting patiently to see what happens.”