Organize a show and they will come.
Kent’s first community-wide talent show was a bona fide success last week, drawing a healthy crowd and a full slate of performers – with talents that many in Kent probably didn’t know they had.
The first-ever Kent’s Got Talent Jan. 29 drew more than 140 audience members to the Kent Senior Activity Center. And with assistance from the house band – a group of local accountants called Discarded Entity – the night’s performers attempted to bring down the house.
“There was just some incredible talent,” Barbara Smith, executive director of the Kent Downtown Partnership, who organized the show.
There were the vocalists: Kent-Meridian High School student Spencer Roop singing Pink’s “Glitter in the Air,” Doug Quarter hitting the notes with “Twist and Shout,” James Bacher performing “Treat Her Right,” Kris Novak belting out the Patsy Cline hit “Walkin’ After Midnight,” and Hayden McManus crooning the Linda Ronstadt standard, “Blue Bayou.”
There was the dancing: ballet dancers Jessic Akers, Kelsey Grosse and Hannah Rothschiller from the Allegro Performing Arts Academy, performing to “The Answer.”
There was a “Glee”-like musical skit: Ethan Tucey, Taylor Madins performing to “I Want Candy.”
Heck, there was even poetry: Mayor Suzette Cooke reading “Fleating,” and “Moonbeam Love.”
Even the night’s master of ceremonies, local attorney Mark Albertson tapped his inner reggae, singing Bob Marley’s “One Love,” complete with dreadlock hairdo.
In the end, however, there was one winner: Roop, who also won the Kent-Meridian “Idol” contest at her school Jan. 20.
For her efforts, the high-school sophomore snagged a $100 gift certificate that can be used either in Kent’s downtown, or at the nearby Kent Station retail complex.
The Allegro dancers took second place, each netting a $50 gift certificate.
And for their can-do spirit, the rest of the performers each went home with $25 gift certificates.
Winners were decided by the audience, who purchased “votes,” and placed them in a bag with the performer’s name on it.
“Spencer won by a landslide – there were no ifs, ands or buts,” Smith said.
Smith also gave kudos to Discarded Entity, who helped ensure the evening was a success by working with performers ahead of time.
“The band did a lot of it,” she said of advance efforts, noting they scheduled practices with performers.
The band members are Thomas Byrne, Rob Kneisler, Steve Beck and Dennis Shanlin.
The event also functioned as a fundraiser, through the “votes” that people could purchase to ensure their favorite performers got ranked. Smith said the KDP saw $1,300 from the votes.
The money will be used for a variety of things to promote downtown.
“We will use it for anything to create excitement in downtown Kent,” she said.