Madonna students showcase talent in first annual talent competition

By Sarah Rachfal

Saturday, Feb. 12 marked the date for the 1st Annual “So, You Think You’ve Got Talent?” competition at Madonna’s Kresge Hall.

The Music Club fundraiser featured a variety of 17 acts, such as singers, dancers, dramatists, and specialty acts, including the Highland Sword Dance performed by Annika Taylor with bagpiper Tyge Cawthon. 

The competition was open to the public and even had music student Jackleen Joseph’s father, joekidd, perform.  The youngest performers were age 12.

“I came to support my Dad,” said Joseph, “But I also came to the event early and helped with whatever I could.”

Assistant Professor of Voice and Lyric Theatre Director Barbara Wiltsie said the idea of having a talent competition came from Madonna alumnus Sarah Storti, who was crowned the 2010 winner of Woodward Dream Cruise Idol.  Wiltsie thought having a talent competition would be a fun way to make the community more familiar with activities happening at Madonna and an entertaining way to raise money for the music program.

“Funds raised from the competition will go to the Music Club and the officers and committee will then decide where the money will go specifically, but it will go towards things that the budget does not cover like Lyric Theatre or equipment,” said Wiltsie.

Aside from winning Woodward Dream Cruise Idol, Storti has been classically trained in music since age 12, and performing with the Henry Ford Jazz Band at the 2004 Presidential Inauguration is considered one of her proudest musical moments.

Accompanying Storti on the judge’s panel was former Miss Michigan Kelly Garver Nieto and Steve Blackwood of the long running soap opera, Days of Our Lives.  Nieto is a songwriter, director, and performer who has opened for national acts including Garth Brooks.  Her current role is producer of the musical drama The Living Stations of the Cross.  Blackwood has upcoming musical engagements at Meadowbrook Theatre and is also an accomplished jazz singer with successful album releases.

President of the Music Club and co-founder of Madonna’s acapella group, No Strings Attached with fellow student Megan Heath, hoped that the fundraiser would also raise awareness to the many things the music program has to offer and was very excited to see Joseph Fisher compete.

Joseph Fisher, a 16-year-old student at Belleville High School is a future Madonna student who performed “Before it Breaks” acapella by Brandi Carlisle, takes voice lessons with Dixon and Bob Wiltsie.  It was his first time performing in a talent competition and he will also be performing in the musical Children of Eden April 2 and 3 with many of the other competitors.

The three finalists were chosen by the judges and then the audience chose who was to be the winner and in second and third place.  

The winner was Alex Bojcuniak who performed her LED hula-hoop routine to the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic.” Meggan Jacobsen took second place and performed her self-composed song entitled “Our Love” with guitar, and third place Amy Zinn performed a solo of “Anyway” by Martina McBride. Both are Bojcuniak and Jacobsen are Madonna students, and Zinn is a junior at Plymouth Christian Academy.

“I got started hooping though a martial arts teacher,” said Bojcuniak, who has been hula-hooping for seven years.  “I signed up for the competition to see about what students had to offer outside the sign language department.”

“More than $400 was collected at the door and it was highly successful in the talent presented and the judge’s interaction with the contestants.  We had a great time,” said Wiltsie.