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WESTERN MASS PERFORMS 2017
9th Annual Talent Show

Talent Show Seeks Applicants

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The Monson Arts Council scholarship committee announces that its eighth annual Talent Show, WESTERN MASS PEFORMS, will be held on February 11, 2017. The show will be held in Memorial Hall for the first time in many years. The hall has now been reopened to public use after a significant series of safety and efficiency upgrades, which now allow make it available for use year round.

Though this has been an annual show since its inception, it was cancelled in 2016 due to insufficient applications. The MAC is confident that it will be able to put on the show this coming winter, especially without the significant costs associated with our use of Granite Valley Middle School.

The first prize is $700, second prize is $200 and third prize is $100. The awards will be determined by a panel of three professional judges. Performers of all ages are invited to compete, with 24 acts to be chosen to perform. This is always a terrific show, and a great experience for the performers!

The talent show is a fundraising event for the Monson Arts Council scholarship, with proceeds going to fund a scholarship for a Monson senior involved in the arts. Prize awards are made possible in part by contributions from many local businesses.

The application deadline is Wednesday January 25th, 2017. The application fee is $25 per act. Auditions will be on Friday January 27 at 7 pm and Saturday, January 28 at 9 am, with a snow date of Sunday, January 29 at 2 pm. Individual audition times will be scheduled throughout the two days on a first come first serve basis. All auditions and rehearsals will be in Memorial Hall.

The other key dates are as follows: First rehearsal: (NOTE CHANGED DATE/TIME!) Saturday February 4th at 9 am, snow date Sunday February 5th at 2pm. Second rehearsal: Tuesday February 7th at 7 pm, snow date Wednesday February 8th at 7 pm.. The Show: Saturday February 11 at 7 pm, snow date Sunday February 12th at 2 pm. Applicants should have all dates available.

Anyone interested in further information, or in submitting an application, should call (413)267-9764


2015 Talent Show a Feast of Voices

2015 Winners
In alphabetical order, click to magnify

All Winners

Benjamin Buck

Christina Colon

Callie Damouras

Damouras Berenson Fuhrman

Ugochukwa Iyeh

Jasmine Scott

The eighth annual Monson Arts Council talent show, Western Mass Performs, was held on Saturday night, March 21, before an enthusiastic crowd. For the first time in three years, the show was held on its scheduled date and time, without interference from the weather.

Though there was a strong contingent of dance performers and a range of other acts, in the eyes and ears of the judges it was clearly the year of the voice. The three cash prizes each went to a vocalist, three very impressive and very different voices, each drawing on its own particular strength.

The first prize of $1000 went to Christina Colon of Wilbraham, a 16 year old who is clearly on the cusp of an exciting professional career. Her rich and powerful voice, coupled with her own piano accompaniment, could have filled the large auditorium without amplification, had she chosen to. She gave a wonderful rendition of "It's a Man's World” by James Brown. Peter Barnett, president of the Monson Arts Council and organizer of the talent show, said, "This is one of those 'I knew her when' moments. Keep your eyes on Christina! She is so impressive that we have asked her NOT to compete next year, but rather toreturn as a guest artist and inspiration.” Second prize of $500 went to another singer with a voice that was also powerful, but purer and less gritty. Callie Damouras of Belchertown offered up a rendition of "Porgi Amor”, an aria from Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro”, bringing the audience into a very different world. The aria, a combination of beauty and anguish, was sung with a lovely combination of feeling and restraint.

The third prize winner of $250 was Ugochukwa Iyeh, a native of Nigeria currently residing in Springfield whose profession is medicine but whose passion is singing. This passion is very much on his sleeve as he puts his entire heart into his soaring tenor. His rendition of "I have nothing” gave perfect scope to his intense and heartrending style.

In addition to the three cash awards, the judges awarded three honorable mention prizes to some very deserving performers. Ten year old Benjamin Buck of Longmeadow gave the audience an old-fashioned dance hall or Cabaret performance of "Chattanooga Choochoo”, reminiscent of the early 20th century. A second honorable mention went to a dance trio which include another Damouras sister, Abby, who joined McKenzie Berenson and Ashley Fuhrman in a dance based on "My Sister's Keeper”, choreographed by their instructor Mandy Goudreau, also of Belchertown. Lastly, yet another vocalist was recognized, Jasmine Scott of Holyoke, who accompanied herself on the guitar in a rendition of "Who Knew?, was an inspiration for all of us who struggle to get in front of a crowd and put ourselves into the limelight.

Peter Barnett, in his final comments to audience, looked ahead to a future filled with change for the talent show, as it completes its last year at Granite Valley middle school and looks forward to a return to a reopened Memorial Hall.






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