By Tara Palazuelos, A&E Editor
This past month, the annual Forest Grove High School Talent Show took place. All of the admissions proceeds were being donated to the Boys and Girls club. The event was spectacular, and of course would not have been possible without the help of many key people including Viviana Bruno, Cristal Sanchez, hosts Olivia Bateman and Lilly Mejia, and of course, the marvelous judges. The show was filled to the brim with exceptional talent, ranging from Forest Grove’s best musicians, to the most eloquent poets and rappers, and to the most impressive dancers.
The show began with the song “Somewhere over the Rainbow” performed by our favorite ukulele-playing senior, Devin Imbat. Imbat impressively tailored the song, made famous by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, to himself with his ever energetic stage presence and intensity. His riveting performance started the show on a good note. Following him was Aiyanna Powers, another singer! Her performance of “Try Everything”, from the Disney Movie “Zootopia”, was carefree, lighthearted, and sweet. Her youthful voice wonderfully expressed the melody and perfectly captured the essence of the song. On the whole, she provided a beautiful performance. Senior Melodie Gorow was the third act of the night. From the first step she took on stage the audience was entranced. Her lyrical dance was an ethereal, graceful performance. Her command of the choreography translated into a confident, beautiful performance by the clearly experienced dancer. Noah Stalley and Ezykio Aleman performed next. Their performance consisted of an incredibly touching, and emotional tribute song for Samantha Cadd. Their original song tugged at the heartstrings of every person there. An amazing song written by the boys beautifully performed. It was quite evident at this point that the talent was sublime and the competition would not be an easy one. So, when Heather Monahan took the stage next to her harp it became clear that every contestant was in it to win it. Her performance of an original composition for voice and harp blew us all away. Her voice, reminiscent of young Stevie Nicks’ filled the auditorium with beautiful lyrics and an even more stunning melody. Her prowess on the harp made her a clear standout as well. A fan favorite from the 2015 talent show returned with another original song. Mathew Hampton came back with an incredible composition for voice and piano. His beautiful, tenor voice sang a song very contrasting with last years’ satirical stalker song. Nonetheless, it was simply beautiful. I swear his little finger has more talent and creativity than most people. It was a stupendous job. The final performer of Act 1 was Alexi Bloch. Yet another singer, Bloch selected “Don’t You Remember” by Adele. A very fitting choice considering that the tone and quality of her voice is very rich and full, similar to Adele’s. Her thrilling rendition of this piece had me longing for the lost love I never had. The raw emotion and lush presentation of this piece was the perfect end to the first act.
Intermission was close to follow, and the ever successful Money Minute took place promptly. All of the proceeds from the minute, as well as admissions, went to the Boys and Girls club, a wonderful organization helping kids nationally.
Act two began with the incredibly provocative words of Noah Kneer. Kneer has previously proved his command of words. In this case Kneer’s poem “Mother” had the audience reeling with the powerful message, and weight the words carried. The performance of “Mother” was definitely a fan favorite, and got Noah the second place spot in the competition. As the second act started off so strong, I was beside myself. I couldn’t wait to see what other talents would come after that spectacular performance. And then we heard from the notorious Jackson Davis. A popular rapper in the community, Davis showcased an original piece from his Mixtape (available on soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/jackjames503/sets/solace). Not only did the junior provide an interesting contrast and dynamic difference to the show, the lighting set to his rap was ‘lit’. After his riveting performance was Sarah Hampton with her beautiful rendition of “Stone Cold” by Demi Lovato. Her powerful stage presence was felt from the moment she set foot onstage in her stunning ensemble. Hampton’s powerful voice and musical ability was blatantly obvious. It is clear that the Hampton siblings are a creative bunch. Brenna Fitzgerald was the fourth contender in the second act. Her powerful and beautiful voice rocked the house as she covered the popular “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles. Only a sophomore, Fitzgerald’s voice and performance exceeded her years. Next was Tiffany Young with spoken word. Her performance was by far one of the most intriguing. Her flow and command of her words was beyond impressive. She spoke with confidence, intelligence, and vulnerability. It was everything one looks for in a stellar performance. After seeing so much talent, and as the show only had three more acts, I didn’t think it could possibly get any better. However Viviana Bruno’s jazz dance effectively changed my mind. The first thing I noticed was the ease and comfortability she had. Her stage presence combined with a flawless execution of her dance with the facial expressions and energy it was no surprise that she placed third. Her sassy, fun routine was an incredible treat. Pablo Asencion proved to us that he was “Irreplaceable” with his cover of the popular Beyoncé song. Not only did he sing the heck out of that song, but he got the audience into it as well. It was a wonderful performance that would have made Queen Bey proud. The final act stole the show. Winner of last years talent show Phunky Phresh took the stage with their instrumental version of “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson. The band consists of Nathaniel Torry-Schrag (Drums), Natan Lizier-Zmudzinski (Alto Sax), Ivan garcia (Trumpet), Leif Jorgensen (Guitar), and Kimo Fong (Bass). Their performance rocked the socks off the place and evidently the judges as they won the talent show for the second year running. A fantastic feat!
Ultimately, the 2016 talent show was an incredible event, showcasing the sheer talent at Forest Grove High School and benefiting the wonderful Boy’s and Girls Club Organization. Bravo to everyone who judged, performed, and organized!