Saturday, March 28, 2015

Talent Hunt 2015 A "Showstopper" All the Way Around: Sights and Sounds

Winner Kayla McDonald with Basileus Brian K. Long
and Talent Hunt Chair Leroy Barton, Jr.
If you were inside the auditorium of Brother Charles H. Flowers High School in Springdale on Saturday afternoon, March 14, you would have thought for a while you were sitting front and center inside the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem. The only thing missing was the infamous Apollo "Sandman," who wasn't needed here because there were no "duds" on stage at Gamma Pi's Annual Talent Hunt . It was all good.

The melodic voices, the sharp sounds of finely tuned instruments, the awe-inspiring dance moves and the captivating emotion of dramatic readings made you feel like you were watching tomorrow's stars today. In many respects you were, as Gamma Pi showcased the dynamic talents of area high school students, delighting the audience of about 400 who turned out to take in the entertainment and fine arts.
Participants lined up across the stage

A total of 33 students participated, including 11 who displayed artwork. As in previous years, trying to pick a winner from such an outstanding field was next to impossible. To help ease the pain of having to choose from so many talented contestants, Gamma Pi, as always, employed a panel of professional music and fine arts educators to serve as judges, including the manager for legendary R&B act Earth, Wind &Fire.

The performance categories were instrumental classical, instrumental contemporary, vocal contemporary, drama and art. Students represented public and private high schools from Prince George's County and surrounding communities.
Audience enjoying the competition

Flowers High School senior Kayla McDonald was the overall winner and also took first place in drama. She performed vocals on the selection "My Funny Valentine" by Richard Rodgers, and was accompanied by her father, Charles McDonald. She also performed a drama routine from the Tyler Perry movie, "For Colored Girls Only." Graceson Moore (Suitland High) won in the instrumental classical category, Aston Woolery (Suitland) won the instrumental classical piano category, Nylah Drummond (Flowers High) was selected winner in the vocal contemporary category and she also won the dance category, and Oluferanmi Quadrias won in the dance division. A full list of winners is below,.

"The display of talent is awesome. It gets more stunning every year ," said Bro. Dr. Leroy Barton, Jr., the chapter's longtime Talent Hunt chairman."It's real encouraging to know we have so many youth with so much talent They all have such a bright future."
Juwan Blocker performs a drama piece

Like the classic "Amateur Night at the Apollo" and the more recent "American Idol," the Gamma Pi Talent Hunt excited and engaged the audience. From well-timed applause to cheers to standing ovations and oohs and aaahs, members of the audience found numerous ways to demonstrate their love for the contestants.

What really makes Talent Hunt special is the diversity of the performances in styles of vocal and instrumental music, dance and drama. In other words, there was something for everybody at Talent Hunt 2015. It was definitely an afternoon and evening to remember. Watch a special video presentation below:


Dramatic Interpretation/Drama
First Place – Kayla McDonald*
Second Place – Mauriana Calhoun
Third Place – Juwan Blocker
Instrumental Classical
First Place – Graceson Moore
Second Place – Renee Banks
Third Place – Zakiyyah Thompson
Instrumental – Classical Piano
First Place – Aston Woolery
Second Place – MaKenzie Sherman
Third Place – Jesse H. Springfield
Vocal Contemporary
First Place – Nyah Drummond
Second Place – Kayla McDonald
Third Place – Diangelo K. Scott
First Place – Nyah Drummond
Visual Art
First Place – Oluferanmi Quadri
Second Place – Melissa Gessner
Third Place – Terris Johnson
* overall winner