Student Skills Wow the Crowd at SAC’s Annual Talent Show

“I did this last year, and I hated it,” said Ayden Albright (’24) as the opening line of his one-act comedy skit performed at this year’s talent show. “I’m doing it this year, though, because I could win $200. I could get a big bad textbook with that.” For the spontaneous and entertaining nature of his performance, Albright was voted as “The People’s Choice” winner and won a bag of snacks. 

Albright competed against eight other performer groups at this year’s “Really Big Talent Show,” which was hosted by the Student Activities Committee (SAC) on April 5 in the Student Center. SAC members introduced each performer with scripted enthusiasm, promising a grand prize of $200 to be used at the bookstore next year.

The nine acts consisted mostly of musical talent demonstrations, along with two comedy acts and a magic show. Each act varied in style and tone, keeping the audience on their toes. “I really don’t think that anyone is going to be forgotten from the Talent Show,” said freshman Katie Patterson. “They were all amazing acts.” 

The show opened with an original song by Ian Dana (’24) and Elijah Escoto (’25), a musical duo from the Cosmopolitan fraternity. This team won second place from the panel of judges and will be returning to perform at upcoming Coffeehouse events in the future.

Other performances included a flammable magic card trick by “Magic Jack” Hensley (’24), on-the-spot piano melody creations by Cadence Tennant (’24), a classical violin performance by George Harvey (’24), and a rock piano song titled “Cruiser Hits a Pot Hole” by James Lakie (’27). Freshman Anessa Hanson gave a heartfelt rendition of “Taylor, the Latte Boy” (a song by Kristin Chenoweth), while Jack Cuncannan (’25) concluded the evening with a series of jokes about high school marching band and his experiences as a worker at Lowe’s, among other topics. 

Juniors Carter Mann and Abby Howe won first place for the two Irish folk songs they performed, with Howe playing violin and Mann playing mandolin and singing. Katie Patterson described their performance as “fun and happy,” stating that the duo got the crowd moving through claps and impressively catchy melodies. 

“Carter and I have been playing with our band, Basement Bluegrass, for probably over a year. We started…at the end of sophomore year. He and I have been playing for a little bit–I’ve been playing violin since fifth grade. He’s been playing fiddle music for a really long time, so he’s actually played the music before, and then I joined him with the fiddle,” said Abby. “So, he never played it on mando before, on mandolin, and so it was his first time re-adapting it and singing it by himself. So we just kind of put it together and it worked out really well.”

This was the first of a series of four “Fun Fridays in April” events hosted by SAC to conclude the school year. Maddie Jannusch (’24), one of the event directors for SAC who was heavily involved in planning this year’s talent show, explained some of the team’s thinking. 

“Over the last few years, we have been trying to think of events that are out of the box, and a big part of that conversation is how we can get other students involved in cool events. The Really Big Talent Show has been an annual event for years and years, so to us it’s a no-brainer to continue shining a light on all kinds of talent at Hope,” said Jannusch. 

When asked about one of the most unique acts she has seen performed at the Really Big Talent Show, Jannusch named the bluegrass band from last year’s show, which was “a five-person band with unique instruments.” She emphasized that good stage presence and crowd involvement are always welcome.

“Another event we’re making an annual tradition is the Maker’s Market (happening next Friday from 3-5 in the Great Room) which is an opportunity for students to sell merchandise, crafts, or food to other Hope students and faculty. Things like these where students may not have an opportunity to show off their hobbies but they have the outlet of a SAC event to do so…We think that highlighting gifted students and what they can do is exciting for them, everyone who attends, and the SAC members.” 

If you have a talent that needs showcasing, consider performing for next year’s show. “Whether it’s music, comedy, magic, or something wildly unique–we encourage all students interested to sign up because it truly is one of the most fun events we offer.”

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