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‘West Madison Has Talent’ showcases 58 students

Olivia Gay demonstrated her gymnastics skills at "West Madison Has Talent." (CONTRIBUTED)
Olivia Gay demonstrated her gymnastics skills at “West Madison Has Talent.” (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Kristina Newsome so cherished her fifth-grade talent show that she started “West Madison Has Talent.”

“Being in my elementary school’s talent show is one of my prized memories. When I began teaching, I asked permission of my principal, Dr. Daphne Jah, to put on the talent show. She backed me 100 percent,” Newsome said.

Gifted specialist Wendy Tibbs helped with the production.

Third- through sixth-graders could audition in two categories from dance, vocal, instrumental, physical activities, performance, art and poetry.

West Madison teachers didn’t hesitate in volunteering to judge auditions. After school, “students waited in the hallways until their audition times. The top five acts moved on to the show. Results were posted outside the music room,” Newsome said.

The show included 29 acts with 48 performers, five emcees and five stagehands — 58 participants.

Among five vocalists, one sang a capella, while a duet accompanied themselves with cups. Instrumentalists included five pianists and one band. Five artists exhibited designs.

For dance, students presented pop-n-lock, ballet and jazz routines. Acts featured tumbling, a bo staff routine, basketball tricks and juggling. Students created and adapted skits.

Sixth-grade emcees gathered contestant details, edited host dialogue and learned stage logistics. Stagehands solved microphone and set-up issues.

Pianist Emily Geary played “Trepak” from “The Nutcracker.” “Auditions were nerve-wracking but I felt confident. (Performers) showed the entire school that they have talent,” Geary said.

In her first public performance, Olivia Gay “wanted to show what I’ve learned through gymnastics. My act (featured) a press handstand, walking handstand, one-handed front walkovers, cartwheels and double back walkovers.”

“I gained confidence. It was exciting when the crowd clapped along to my song’s beat,” Gay said.

The show “benefits the children’s self-esteem and opens up people’s eyes to our students’ talents. Teachers and students can even cross-reference acts to create links with classroom learning,” Newsome said.

“Every student learned how to handle themselves better under pressure. To perform for an audience and to hear you did a good job (is) what every child wants to hear,” Newsome said.

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