Coal region's got talent and shows it off in Shamokin contest
SHAMOKIN - Trevor Bewley casually strummed his guitar backstage ahead of Sunday's Talent Showcase at Northumberland County Career and Arts Center.
The auditorium was beginning to fill up as he played. If Bewley was having and pre-gig jitters, he wasn't showing. Just 16 years old, he said he'd played for audiences before.
"I used to play in Florida with my grandfather on a sailboat," he said.
Seth Barrett, 13, of Elysburg, wasn't so calm. Understandably so. He began taking piano lessons 11 months ago and had never performed for a crowd before.
Dressed in a black three-piece suit, he paced the hallways. Paced the auditorium. Paced the backstage. Munched a cookie.
"This is my first formal recital," he said, adding he was both "excited and nervous."
Bewley and Barrett and the nine other acts, nervous or not, were all warmly received by the Talent Showcase audience.
Also performing were the Karaoke Crew of Becky Keister-Taffera, Keigh Keister, Sheree Frey and Rob Wheary, vocalist Bobby Diamond, youth vocalist Emilee Barnhardt, youth vocalist Rosalind Kane, the vocal group The Choralettes, youth vocalist Lauren Pardoe, the duo The Greg and Becky Experience, Heather Nahodil and Steven Crowe of Dying to Live and Marla Kane, Tommy Kane and Jay Carpenter of Marla and the Juniper Street Band.
Of course there were Bewley and Barrett.
Bewley played guitar and sung an original song, "Free." He played it cool.
Barrett took the stage and launched into Muzio Clementi's arrangement of Sonatina in C Major. He played it cool, too, even if the nerves were still there after his performance.
Asked afterward, he said the audience reaction "felt good." He paced a bit and then grabbed another cookie. All smiles, that one.
Rosalind Kane impressed as much as anyone. She took the stage with nothing but a chair, a table and a plastic cup. She covered Anna Kendrick's "Cups (Pitch Perfect's 'When I'm Gone.'" She twisted, tapped and glanced the cup off the table to create her own percussion, keeping rhythm while singing the smash hit.
"She's been down in our basement for a while practicing that. I said, 'Honey, you should do that," her father, Tommy Kane, said. It was his daughter's first solo performance, too.
Rob Wheary, showcase organizer and News-Item staff writer, said $1,280 was collected at the door. Half will be donated to Citizens for a Better Community, the other half to Northumberland County Council for the Arts and Humanities.
Another $110 and at least 300 items of nonperishable food were collected for donation to Manna for the Many, a Shamokin food bank.
Many in the audience were rewarded for their kindness. Forty-one prizes were given away including an iPad mini, bus trips to New York City, sizeable gift certificates and cash.
Wheary played it smart. He knew it'd take some coaxing to get a good-sized crowd to the show.
"When I first had the idea for this show I thought 'bribery is a great way to get people here,'" he told the crowd.
It worked. More than 230 tickets were sold for the event.
Darla Fausey, of Elysburg, an event sponsor, was pleased to see the community support the event, and in turn the arts council and the food bank.
"I think it was absolutely amazing," she said.
Bill Persing, of Shamokin, was happy to be entertained. "Hats go off to Robbie. He did a fantastic job," he said of Wheary.
Like many in the audience, Wheary credited the performers for showing off their talents. Likewise, Wheary was thanked for giving them the opportunity. He got a bit weepy at show's end as he showed his gratitude for the event's outcome.
"Dreams do come true," he said. "Mine just did."