Long before “America’s Got Talent” began attracting the nation’s attention, a local talent show began offering youths a chance to take center stage.
And, efforts are now gearing up for this year’s 34th annual “Spotlight on Talent” competition.
Winners of this talent show won’t walk away with a million-dollar prize or a show in Las Vegas, but they won’t walk away empty-handed, either.
The regional competition awards more than $4,000 in cash prizes and trophies to winners in several age categories.
The event, organized by the Heritage Arts Center Association, features contestants who have made their way through auditions and have been selected as finalists to compete at two shows.
The competition also awards a $1,000 scholarship to a graduating senior who lives in Pasco County.
Because of the community support of the “Moonlight and Ivory” concerts, as well as the “Spotlight” contest, organizers have added the scholarship that will go to the Pasco senior with the highest total scores from the finals judges.
The contest will feature finalists from several hundred contestants who compete during an audition.
Contestants come from throughout Pasco County, as well as Tampa, Brooksville, St. Petersburg and other communities.
Talents run the gamut, too.
There are vocalists, dancers, instrumental musicians, piano players, baton twirlers, bands, gymnasts and other entertainers seeking to take home a prize.
There are several age categories. There also are categories for groups and for solos. A student may enter as a soloist and as a member of a group.
Judges for the competition come from Central Florida.
This year’s auditions will be on Feb. 11.
Participants are judged primarily on talent, but also on stage presence and appropriate appearance.
The final competitions will be March 11 at Center for the Arts at Wesley Chapel, 30651 Wells Road in Wesley Chapel.
The first act, which begins at noon, will feature the younger finalists. The second act, which begins at 7 p.m., will features the older competitors.
Admission is $12 for adults for one show, or $20 for both. For students through high school, admission is $6 for one show, or $10 for both. Children under age 5 are admitted free.
The scholarship winner will be announced at the end of the final show, and will be separate, and in addition to the individual category winners.
The deadline for entries is Jan. 26, but anyone who is interested in competing should start preparing their act now and start working on the application, Barbara Friedman, one of the event’s organizers, said via email.
Information about the competition is distributed to each school music teacher in central and east Pasco County. Many dance, vocal and instrumental studios, and local Chambers of Commerce also have information about the arts competition.
Applications and information also are available online at HeritageArts.org.
The competition is also seeking additional community sponsors.
34th annual ‘Spotlight on Talent’ competition
Deadline for applications: Jan. 26
Auditions: Feb. 11
Talent Show: March 11; Act I, featuring younger competitors begins at noon. Act II, featuring older contestants starts at 7 p.m.
Where: Talent shows will be at the Center for the Arts at Wesley Chapel, 30651 Wells Road, Wesley Chapel.
Admission: For adults, $12 for adults for one show or $20 for both. For students through high school, $6 for one show or $10 for both. Children under age 5 are admitted free.
For more information, call Barbara Friedman at (352) 567-1720, or email .
For applications, visit HeritageArts.org.