Talented youths get time to shine

Jessica Twitmyer received the top scores to win a $1,000 Pasco Heritage Scholarship, during the 34th “Spotlight on Talent” on March 11 at the Center for the Arts at Wesley Chapel High School.

Because of its popularity, the talent contest is divided into two shows, said Barbara Friedman, the executive producer for the competition, which is put on by the nonprofit Heritage Arts Center Association.

Vocalist Jessica Twitmyer won the top prize during the 34th annual ‘Spotlight on Talent’ competition, receiving a $1,000 Pasco Heritage Scholarship.
(Courtesy of Heritage Arts Center Association)

The afternoon performance features younger competitors and the evening show features older contestants.

More than 160 students auditioned on Feb. 28 for a chance to compete in the finals, Friedman said. Of those, a total of 140 competed in the two shows.

Friedman was helped by assistant producers Dr. Rebecca Groomes and Alicia Polk Guanio. Also, a 15-member board of directors worked on the project for three months, and a final production team, including 20 members of the community, pitched in to put on the competition, Friedman said.

Both performances drew audiences of hundreds of people, and performers competed for more than $5,000 in trophies, ribbons and cash prizes.

Contestants included musicians, singers, dancers and musical theater performers.

There were two masters of ceremonies, Tom Jackson, who works for Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller Paula O’Neil, and Mike Rom, principal of Countryside Montessori Charter School.

A panel of paid professional judges selected the winners.

The younger students competed in Act 1, and the older students competed in Act II.

The winners in Act 1 were:

Category 1:  Vincent Pham, piano, first; Samuel Wu, piano, second; and, Larkin Mainwaring, musical theater, third

Category 2:  Kasey Lang, piano, first; Angelica Drobny, voice and piano, second; Emma Shireman, musical theater, third; Isabella Como, musical theater, fourth; and Jasmine Villa, pointe dance, fifth

Showstoppers’ musical theater performance earned third place in its category at ‘Spotlight on Talent.’

Category 3: Agnes Hernandez, piano, first; Jadon Day, voice, second; Grace Williams, lyrical dance, third; Faith Phaller, contemporary dance, fourth; Sailor Wade, ballet dance, fifth

The winners in Act II were:

Category 1: Julianna Mazza, lyrical dance, first; Gracie Scaglione, contemporary dance, second; Allison Crump, contemporary dance, third; Victoria Conn, ballet dance, fourth; Nora Urbuteit, jazz dance, fifth

Category 2: Victoria Neukom, contemporary dance, first; Maria Hernandez, piano, second; Kaira Torres, voice, third; Kiersten Herman, musical theater, fourth; Hannah Knight, voice and guitar, fifth; Catherine Beard, voice and piano, sixth

Category 3: Jessica Twitmyer, voice, first; Courtney Graham, musical theater, second; Clare Hernandez, piano, third

Groups: Star Dancers 9 – 12, contemporary dance, first; Piano Nerds, piano duet, second; Showstoppers, musical theater, third

Published March 22, 2017

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