When Talent Meets the Stage

Photo Credit: Joya Groban

Photo Credit: Joya Groban

   On Friday, February 21, 2014, pianists, dancers, and singers invaded West High’s pavilion and took up the main stage. With fierce competition and a full house, this year’s talent show was nothing short of extraordinary.

   The night spun into motion with Reiko Yoshizawa (10) and Brandon Wolfson (10) as the  M.C’s. With their lively and quirky humor, they led the audience into the first performance by the 7 WHS Warriors, featuring members and alumni of West High’s all-male hip hop team. After their upbeat dance routine, Megan Dia (12) stunned the audience with a mash-up of songs by Bruno Mars styled on the piano. Later on, the crowd sang along with Erika Clark (10) as she staged a musical act of “Let it Go” from the soundtrack of Frozen.

   Of all these acts, when students were asked which performance was their favorite, Kevin Kim (11) replied, “I liked the girl in the sparkly blue dress, Zoie Thomas (12) who sang ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ by Alicia Keys. She sang really well even though she didn’t win.” Gerone Navarro (12), on the other hand, gave a shout out to “Rivers and Roads,” performed by The 131ers and also accompanied by Tiffany Shows (12). But among these favorites, Haute Aire, comprised of West High’s faculty, was clearly the star of the night. As Haute Aire finished singing “I’ll Be There for You,” students stood up in their chairs cheering for their favorite teachers and football players chanted the name of Mr. Holt as Haute Aire walked away from the stage.

   During the short intermission, the crowd roamed the pavilion to view students’ artwork displayed against the walls. Ceramic pots and sculpted art were laid out on the table cloth along with masses of 2-D art projects submitted by students from all levels of art classes. Erica Cho’s (12) complicated ceramic piece took first place as well as Rio Iwasaki’s (11) 2-D artwork. Exquisite fashion pieces clung to mannequins but Jacey Cover’s (11) black one-piece took the prize along with the overall visual arts sweepstake.

   The second half of the show consisted of mostly second time contestants that performed the previous year. Brandon Kim (11), Caleb Yoo (12), and Wooyong Chung (12) brought back their beats with an upgraded sound and more elaborate techniques. Kim explained, “We didn’t really have high hopes on winning the whole thing because [there was] so much competition and talent.” But regardless of the competition, they had fun as did Daniel Barrett (12), who sang his heart out for the last time as a senior in a musical performance of “Santa Fe.” The audience swooned to first time performer Alex Hao (11) and his piano rendition of John Legend’s “All of Me.” He dedicated the song to a special someone in the crowd. For the encore stages, Joelle Byun (12) and Justin David Sullivan (12) taught the crowd how to have some fun with their duet of Katy Perry’s “Roar” with Tiffany Shows on the acoustic.

   As the night came to an end, the judges tallied up their scores and the M.C.’s announced the winners. The overall performing arts sweepstake winner who captured the heart of the audience with the opera piece, “O Mio Babbino Caro,” was Brittany Minnis-Lemley (12), who took home the trophy with an overwhelmed expression on her face. When asked about how she felt during that moment she replied, “To be honest it took me a second to realize they said my name rather than someone else’s. And I was just so happy. I was so pleased that people were able to appreciate it especially considering people aren’t exposed to opera very often.”

   Regardless of which acts took the trophy, family and friends crowded around the performers, showering them with flowers and words of affirmation. When they stepped down from the stage, some performers fashioned smiles on their faces because they had taken first place for their last chance as seniors; but for most, there were content shrugs of “maybe next year” as they walked away, more ready than ever for next year’s talent show.

Talent Show Winners:

2-D Art: 3rd – Beckie Lee (12), 2nd – Yun Ha Kim (12) and 1st – Rio Iwasaki (11)
Fashion : 3rd – Kat Garnett, 2nd – Vanessa Esguerra (12) and 1st – Jacey Cover (11).

Ceramics: 3rd – Vanessa Lao, 2nd – Ling Ye and 1st – Erica Cho (12)

Visual Arts Sweepstakes: Jacey Cover (11)

Variety : 3rd – (Glovers)Ethan Laster, Angel Lopez &  Brett O’Brien, 2nd – (Beatboxers) Wooyong Chung (12), Brandon Kim (12) & Caleb Yoo (12), 1st – (Musical Group) Kaleb Davies (11), Ryan Dawson (12), Emily Evans & Tiffany Shows (12)
Musical Theatre : 3rd – Jaclyn Francis (12), 2nd – Erika Clark (10) and 1st – Daniel Barrett (12)
Pop Instrumental: 3rd – Maya Klinenberg (12), 2nd – Calvin Jin and 1st – Megan Dia (12)
Pop Vocal Solo: 3rd – Nikki Riv, 2nd – Alex Hao (11) and 1st – Joelle Byun (12)
Dance: 3rd Jennifer Lerch (12), 2nd – Xavier Basso (12) with DJ Nile Maranon (12), and 1st: 7 West High Warriors Marcio Arakaki, Dan Iwanaga, John Kim, Robert Kim, Yuki Naga, Shigeto Nakano and Soshi Suzuki
Classical Music: 3rd – Marenda Bie & Cindy Cao, 2nd – Chloe Liu and 1st – Brittany Minnis-Lemley.
Performing Arts Sweepstakes: Brittany Minnis-Lemley
Photo Credit: Joya Groban
Photo Credit: Joya Groban