The 22nd annual Urbana High School (UHS) Talent Show is mixing it up with an all-new format that will invite the audience to pick winners on Nov. 15.
A panel of judges—including Matt Kopp, Board president for Fredericktowne Players; Donna Hashemezadeh, UHS science teacher; Amy Deavers, Green Valley Elementary music teacher; Lisa Wolf Mathews, professional singer, pianist and founder of Lisa Wolf Music LLC; and Jack Sclar, recently retired UHS vice principal—will select the top five acts. Then audience members will use a live voting app to select first-, second and third-place winners.
The app “will only work within a certain radius,” Alicia Cosby, UHS choral director, explained. “So, voters will need to be present to vote for the performers.”
Audience members will be able to download the voting app in advance or by scanning a QRC code with their phone the night of the show.
“I think this new format is exciting,” said Cyndi Jacobs, UHS Choral Boosters Talent Show chair who is organizing the show for a third year.
Auditions were held Oct. 1 and 2. Out of more than 30 potential acts, 18 were selected for the show. In past years, students competed in performance categories like dance, music solo, duo, but “we found categories were going to exclude some very talented students,” said Cosby. So this year, students will compete without categories to determine final standings and prizes.
“This Talent Show is a showcase for the diversity of talent in the student body at UHS,” Jacobs said.
Open to all, the show draws in talented students who may not be part of the music and drama programs at Urbana High. “I love how it brings some of the different students together, from all of the different parts of the school,” Cosby said. “I heard one student remarking that she had no idea that one of our best athletes was also a fantastic pianist, too.” While the judges work to select the top five acts, two demonstration acts will keep the audience entertained. These are the Lohr family, who specialize in comedy and circus tricks and have been working with the UHS Show Choir this fall, and a staff rock band combo.
Cash prizes are $150 for first place, $125 for second place and $100 for third place. Fourth and fifth place acts will receive gift cards.
But beyond the competition aspect, “the Talent Show provides students who may not have the opportunity to perform very often on the UHS stage a chance to show off what they can do, while it allows other students to practice their performing skills,” Cosby said.
The UHS Talent Show is the Urbana High School Choral Program’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds go into the program’s general fund, which covers some Show Choir expenses and special events like the end-of-year Choral Awards Night.
The fun-filled night of entertainment in the UHS auditorium begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15. Tickets are $5 in advance (sold in the UHS cafeteria) and $8 the night of the show. To download the voting app in advance, go to onelink.to/myp4nb.