The preliminary competition for the 31st annual “Spotlight on Talent” is complete, with 100 acts and a total of 200 students competing during the 14-hour audition process.
The annual event, hosted by the Heritage Arts Center Association in Dade City, has expanded to two final shows because of the huge increase in applicants and what organizers describe as a jump in the quality of talent. In fact, 64 scoring acts — 126 students — were chosen to perform March 29 at noon, with more scheduled that same day beginning at 7 p.m.
Both shows will be held at the Center for the Arts at Wesley Chapel, 30651 Wells Road in Wesley Chapel, with adult tickets starting at $12, and students through high school $6. Tickets are only available at the door.
All the final performances will be awarded a trophy, and two professional panels of judges will have the task of selecting winners for cash prizes. In total, more than $4,000 in cash, trophies and ribbons will be presented to winners in 10 different categories.
The finalist performances vary in style from jazz to classical and Broadway, to rock.
Because of its more than 30-year history, the competition has come full circle with “Spotlight” alums now in positions of responsibility for the production. Two assistant producers for example — Alicia Polk Guanio and Rebecca Friedman Groomes — were annual contestants from 5 years old. The competition itself costs more than $14,000, funded by donations from individuals and businesses.
Heritage Arts also will present its $1,000 Pasco Heritage Scholarship to a graduating Pasco County senior who receives the highest judges scores the night of the finals. Last year’s recipient was Shelby Martin, who is now a student at Florida State University.
For Act I (ages 6-11): Allison Crump, Taylor Hernandez, Victoria Rose Huerta, Vincent Pham, Bernadette Richter, Gracie Scaglione and Lily Viet.
(Age 12): Ryan Jones, Julianna Mazza, Macy Pickerall, Blaise Ryndes, Mark Thivierge and Josie Virge
(Seventh Grade): Samantha Aubin, Maria Hernandez, Megan Phillips, Mina Scaglione and Shelby Surratt.
(Eighth Grade): Maitlin Hart, Hannah Knight, Emma Lawrence, Minerva Nong, Carson Rio, Lizandra Spainhour and Teresa Tompkins.
(Younger Groups): FearingStar, Showbiz, Showtime and The Phelps Sisters.
For Act II (age 14): Grace Alexander, Molly Bentley, Brianna Duncan, Courtney Graham, Jessie Hart, Alex Mercier, Victoria Neukom, Rose Phelps and Alexis Rosario.
(Ages 15-16): Claire Alexander, Rosie Fields, Clare Hernandez, Shelby Johnson, Danielle Pacifico, Nicole Sargent, David Singh and James Williams.
(Age 17): Jordan Allison, Kevin Hernandez, Jessica Holt, Courtney Nathe, Sarah Piersall, Riley Reardon, Danielle Saad and Logan White.
(Age 18): Joseph McGill, Nicolas Remy, Katie Ruffell, Katie Sutton and Angela Tompkins.
(Older Groups): Devin and Vanessa, Flowers Ferguson, Joseph and Maggie McGill, Showstoppers and Star Company.
For more information, visit HeritageArts.org.
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