County youth's talent on display at fair show
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 10, 2010 1:50 AM
News-Argus/MICHAEL K. DAKOTA
Anna West, a second-grader at Spring Creek Elementary School, performs "Ole Joe Clark" on the fiddle.
Morgan Gurley adjusted her black wig of cascading curls as she prepared to perform "Beauty and the Beast" in the Wayne County Fair talent contest Wednesday night.
The third-grader at Meadow Lane Elementary School said she had gotten her golden evening gown costume online so she'd look like a more authentic "Belle" when she sang.
But mostly, she chose Belle because she was her favorite Disney princess.
"I like the movie and Belle has a lot of interest in a lot of things -- like singing, reading and making people feel better," the 8-year-old said.
She came prepared for the competition, divided into two divisions on Wednesday -- kindergarten through second grade and then her category, grades 3-5.
"I practiced and I have been practicing since I was four years old, or three, and wanted to be in the talent show ... I feel comfortable singing and I feel like sharing my happiness with people so they'll spread the happiness with others," she said.
Mom Michelle Gurley, a counselor at Meadow Lane, came up to give her daughter last-minute instructions and a kiss for luck.
"Sing loud," she said. "She has a good voice but she needs to sing loud so everyone will hear her."
The advice paid off.
Everyone, especially the judges, heard Morgan loud and clear, awarding her first place in the vocal solo category.
Cindy Kimble, art teacher at Northeast Elementary School, helped students with their costumes before the program began.
"The Hungry Eagles," comprised of fourth-graders, sang about international foods and placed first in their category, choir or chorus.
One of the students, Ronnie Brewington, also performed a Native American Grass Dance. He actually is Native American, his teacher pointed out.
"My dad made (my costume)," Ronnie said proudly, describing the headpiece that contained horse hair and hawk feathers.
He was also wearing moccasins and carrying a "dancing stick," made up of a flute and a dreamcatcher.
Ronnie's best friend Jonas Creel, also 9, wore a white tae kwon do outfit for the competition. But it was not his first time competing at the fair.
"I used to be in it every year since I got to Northeast," he said. "It's fun and I like to sing."
Best friends Saquoia Richardson and Arianna Rosario, students at Meadow Lane Elementary, were also excited about performing together.
"We love to sing," said Saquoia. "We're a little nervous but we have practiced for a month."
"It's really exciting," added Arianna.
Third-grader Megan Casey, 8, a student at Fremont STARS Elementary School, fingered with her black hat while awaiting her chance to do a jazz dance routine.
"I practiced a whole lot and practiced in front of my parents and my friends so I would be ready," she said.
Earlier, at the K-2 division contest, Isaac Thompson, was first to perform, playing "Ode to Joy" on the piano.
"I practiced 100 times," he said, explaining he chose to enter the talent show "because I like to play in front of a whole bunch of people. I have performed at church and at two recitals."
The Eastern Wayne Elementary School second-grader said he wasn't nervous, mainly because he learned a trick to conquer the fear.
"When I first performed it made me nervous. I was shaking a little but when they called me up, I counted to five before I started," he said.
Isaac placed second in the instrumental solo category.
Sunshine Singleton, a second-grader at Spring Creek Elementary School, was the picture of poise.
Decked out in a purple and white costume and ballet shoes, her curls piled into a bun, the 7-year-old performed a fairy dance.
"I'm a lot more nervous than she is. She just wants to watch cartoons," said mom Jeanetta Singleton. "She's been (dancing) since she was 2 so she's not really worried about it but it's her first time performing by herself."
Sunshine went on to win in her category, dance solo.
Wyatt Mitchell, dressed like an Indian, was part of the multiage group at Meadow Lane Elementary.
Dad Jesse Mitchell was there for moral support, and to film the festivities since Wyatt's mom had to work.
Caiden Cooper, 7, was also part of the first and second-grade multiage class that performed "If All the Trees were Oaks," a poem they memorized.
"We won first place last year for singing and now we have to do a poem," said Caiden, who worse a cowboy hat as part of his costume.
"They have been practicing at school and performed at the PTA meeting," said his mom, Angie Cooper.
Pam Strickland was putting the finishing touches on daughter Sara's hair.
The 6-year-old first-grader at Carver Elementary sang "Open the Eyes of My Heart."
"I have been making up songs my whole life," Sara said. "I have never singed before except at church."
Caleb Gray, wearing a plum shirt and striped tie, calmly sat nearby, awaiting his turn.
The 6-year-old Eastern Wayne Elementary student sang, "I am a Promise."
He chose to enter the contest, he said, because, "I sing very good."
"We have been practicing. He sings at church and at home and at school with Ms. Pabst, his music teacher," said his mom, Weslea Gray, before turning back to her son. "Tell what happened when they called you to leave school today."
"My stomach burned really bad," Caleb replied.
Once he hit the stage, though, any anxiety melted away as the first-grader earned first place for his vocal solo.
Allyson Cannon, a second-grader at Eastern Wayne Elementary, won first place in the novelty act solo for her mime.
"It's for God and I love God so I decided to do this because I did it at church," he said.
Lizie Grace Phipps, a petite blonde first-grader from Wayne Christian, performed a ballet to earn second place for dance solo.
"I like to dance," she said. "When I heard that there was going to be a talent show and I could dance here, I decided that I wanted to come over here to dance."