Talent show brings students together
Students don’t have to attend assemblies, senior John Patterson said, but they come to this one. Patterson is referring to the annual Park City High School talent show, which was held Friday, the last day before winter break.
Patterson has been in the talent show every year. He said he enjoys playing music in front of people. "I feel like my music makes people happy," he said. This year he played piano and sang in a duet with student Brianne Briggs. It was his first time singing in a duet. "I was a little nervous, but usually, after I start playing, it goes away," he said.
Senior Alexa Tritt said she normally doesn’t get nervous performing. But this was her first year entering the talent show, and she got sick the day before. "My throat was really froggy today, and I was a little concerned," she said. "Just an hour and a half ago, I could barely talk."
Tritt solved her voiceless affliction by drinking straight lemon juice right before going on and staying hydrated throughout the day. She said she was glad she performed, but she wanted to do it again because she made a mistake on a line from the song "Stay" by Sugarland.
While Tritt has performed many times before she sometimes sings with a band in Kamas, she sings at church events, and she sang at her eighth-grade graduation other student performers, such as senior Dan Morgan, put their act together just to perform it in the talent show.
Morgan said he got together with his good friends and they decided to make a band. The group started practicing in early December, and their bassist had never even played before. They chose Boston’s "More Than a Feeling," to perform.
"It’s fun to get together and play with other talented people," he said. "The talent show expands the student body’s horizons like if they have never been exposed to a certain kind of music or talent before."
Senior John Garrison, the assembly’s director for student council who helped put the show together, said they were looking at content when deciding which acts would perform. "Nobody wants to see the same thing over and over again," he said. "We had some unique additions to the talent show this year, like disc scratching."
Ninth-grader Grant Sanderson put a unique twist into his and his brother, senior John Sanderson’s, classic violin act by playing violin while skating around John Sanderson, who was also playing violin.
"We love being on stage; it is quite an adrenaline rush," John Sanderson said. "We jam at home. Our violins are brothers too or at least as close to the same violin as you can get."
Grant Sanderson composed all of their music for the performance, except for the guitar part. "It’s fun to write stuff and play it, it makes the music more of your own," he said.
After his brother learned to use a pair of nontraditional skates, which appeared to be nothing more that four wheels attached to a metal plate, John Sanderson thought why not go really over the top and make it part of the act. "He learned it, and I thought it was so cool," he said. "Let’s have him skating around me while I do the climactic part of the piece."
And so they did, and the reaction from the crowd was that of awe and encouragement with hoots, whistling and cheers as the boys finished their performance.
It is moments like those that Tritt believes make the talent show so great. "Not everybody wants to be in band or in a musical," she said. "It’s nice to let other people show what they’re good at."
Kelly Yeates, English teacher and student council advisor, agrees with Tritt. "We have a lot of talent at this school that most students don’t even know exists," she said. "The talent show enables the students to see other students who are not normally in the spotlight."
Yeates role was supervising student council while they organized the event. She said the students held tryouts with four faculty members and two students to decide how many acts they could fit in. Garrison said they ended up having 16 acts perform, more than any other previous year. The students were also in charge of coordinating the order of acts and the timing of getting everyone on and off stage.
Dave Hollack, whose stage tech class made sure those transitions went quickly and smoothly, said that this kind of large venue production is very challenging because there are lots of different kinds of equipment that you have to change over very fast. He said the most time they had between sets was 15 seconds.
Hollack’s class prepared for the show for about a week in advance because there were a lot of logistics to sort out, he said. While it may be a lot of work, "it gives them the experience of actually doing a performance like that," he said, "and with stage tech, you need to learn by doing."
While Hollack had help with lighting in this year’s show from Jim Craig of the Park City Performing Arts Foundation, usually his class and some interns he takes on run all of the events Park City School District puts on. "There are a lot of students who go on to pursue this as a career," he said. "Many get scholarships, and all of the students go into the field with a lot of experience."
Hollack said he’s always amazed at the amount of talent. "The students do an exceptional job," he said. "The talent show is a really nice showcase that validates their work, and so we always try and put out the highest level of production possible to show the students that they’re appreciated."
For Grant Sanderson, performing at the talent show is a great experience. "I technically don’t go to this school, but its fun to be around and play with my brother," he said.
Seniors Angie Velasquez and Katie Brenner agree that playing music is what’s fun for them. "It’s not so much performing in front of everyone, but getting to perform the music," Brenner said.
Brenner and Velasquez are part of a student-teacher blue grass band. The other band members are: science teacher Anthony Winterer, English, debate and ethics teacher Matt Nagel and junior Alan Morgan.
Brenner said she started in the ensemble after Winterer saw her carrying around a bass and asked if she would like to join his band. Nagel asked Valasquez to come on as a singer later.
Neither of the girls was into blue grass before, but they say it’s growing on them. "There’s a whole world of blue grass that I didn’t know existed, it’s really fun to play," Brenner said.
The talent show’s great, Brenner continued, because it opens up the school to see what kind of people there are and what we can do. She said there are some people, like senior Jack Corrigan, who do something every year. "You just wonder what he’s going to do. He’s always so funny," she said.
This year Corrigan did a comedic guitar-singing number with his little brother Ben. Brenner said she wonders if Ben Corrigan will follow in his brother’s footsteps.
Park City High School’s talent show has become a cherished tradition not just for students who perform in it every year like the Corrigans, but also for the school teachers, students, parents as a whole. "It leaves you on a high," Yeates said. "It is a great way to leave for break on a positive note, and it reminds students that we do have a lot to be grateful for."
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