Spartans come together to see their fellow students’ unique skills in the annual talent show.
The talent show at Thomas Jefferson High School this year occurred on the 26th of April. The annual talent show is a great opportunity for students to showcase their hidden talents. TJ’s music teacher, Tambyr Reed, managed the talent show, and with the help of a panel of judges, decided which students were prepared for the show during their auditions. “It’s really about how well they perform in that moment. It has more to do with how prepared they are and how much time they invest into the performance,” Reed explained. The talent show is a perfect way for Spartans to come together and learn more about their peers outside of the day to day classroom environment.
Students are chosen to perform in the talent show based on their performance prepared for the auditions, including their outfit, song choice, and lighting ideas. A panel of teacher judges compiled of different teachers determine if Spartans are ready for the stage. “For the most part, the students that audition are exceptionally prepared. They don’t have to have counseling or private lessons, they’re just ready to go. It’s just getting them in the right order and the lighting they want,” Reed said. Reed volunteered to run the talent show last year, and after the first year’s success she aimed to keep improving the show. “For me it’s hearing the surprise from the audience about somebody they had no idea could do what they do … the student body comes alive, and that’s what we’re here for, to promote fun,” she commented.
This year’s talent show emcee, junior Milan Bartelt, introduced each performer with a lively, multi-character performance. Bartelt has performed in previous shows at TJ including Grease and The Nosemaker’s Apprentice, and he is well known in the theater world at TJ. He became a different character when presenting each performer and gave a different vibe to the talent show. “I tried to compensate for being the only person hosting by bringing some extra personality to the stage,” he explained. Senior Joan Lindsey opened the show, performing the song “This Must Be the Place” by Talking Heads. She added a more acoustic vibe to the song by playing her guitar, and the crowd loved it. Senior Ari Sarikhani rapped his way onto the stage with an original song with a strong energy that hyped up the crowd. Senior Kelton Kennedy sang “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show with his guitar and cowboy hat, and freshman Sawyer Stein read a powerful poem about trans-youth called “Newspaper, Glue, and Expectations (a poem for Trans-Youth).”
The audience screamed in excitement when sophomore Jazz Wright made her appearance and showed her unbelievable dance moves. Sophomore DJ McClanahan sang, “Street Car” by Daniel Caesar, with Sarikhani accompanying him gracefully on the piano. Senior Laila Johnson sang “Thinking About You” by Frank Ocean, sophomore Dyazahrae Marshall sang a beautiful and empowering cover of Alicia Keys’ song “If I Ain’t Got You,” and junior Nyna Jackson performed the song “At Last,” by Etta James. The audience also got a surprise performance from English teacher Jeff Almond. With his electric guitar, Almond sang Taylor Swift’s “Out of the Woods” with a slow rock twist to the song. Almond was the only teacher to perform in the talent show this year. “I like to sing, play guitar, and perform, but it also makes me nervous, especially if I’m by myself. I wanted to challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone and show a side of myself lots of people don’t get to see,” Almond commented. Finally, senior Rachel Golledge ended the talent show with a thrilling ballet performance to the song “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dion. It told an emotional story of love and loss that proved to be a great conclusion to the talent show.
The talent show showcases different students’ talents and brings the TJ community together, which is an exciting way to end the year. Students having fun with friends and learning new things about their fellow Spartans is what the talent show is all about. Every student is encouraged to attend the talent show at TJ, and support their peers who are putting themselves out there, and being courageous in a safe environment.