Early College students show off talent

Adam Whitestone, Ben Liebkemann, Michael Scutari and Siva Ramgoolam perform in front of their peers. Photo By: Carly Herndon/The Guilfordian

A hushed crowd of students, parents and faculty watched in awe as Early College students with a wide range of talents performed in the 11th installment of Interact Club’s annual talent show, ECG’s Got Talent. The event was held in Dana Auditorium on Friday, Feb. 9.

For just five dollar admission, attendees were able to enjoy a night full of performances. From a classical solo pianist to a dynamic dancing duo to a harmonious barbershop quartet, ECG’s Got Talent showcased a total of 17 acts with Early College Math Teacher and Interact Club Adviser Bryan Haywood playing a special banjo performance to close the show.

“ECG’s Got Talent is Interact’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and it’s where we get the most money,” said President of Interact Vy Bui. “The whole club gets involved, and we love that we get to give students an opportunity to show off their talents in a fun way every year.”

This year, the show raised $805 for a local and international charity, a tradition the club has created over time.

“The members of the Interact club chose to donate to The Special Blend, a local coffee shop in Greensboro that provides employment to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” Bui said. “Additionally, we decided to donate to Doctors Without Borders as our international charity. This organization aims to provide medical care to those around the world that have been displaced by war, political violence and natural disasters.”

Interact is the Early College’s longest-standing club, and one of the five main service-based clubs offered at the school.

“ECG’s Interact club partners with the Rotary Club of Greensboro to empower students to become leaders within their community as well as engaging in volunteer work to help others in Greensboro,” Bui said.

In terms of ECG’s Got Talent, students organized auditions and rehearsals themselves, working as stage crew, collaborating with sponsors and charities, hiring judges and even becoming masters of ceremony for the event. Talent Show Coordinator Matt Ferreira worked behind the scenes to help make the show run smoothly and ensure everyone carried out their jobs.

In addition to the crowd of families, students and faculty, former Early College English Teacher Alison Welch, Community Volunteer for Meals of Hope Cindy Hewitt and girlfriend of the Rotary Club Liaison Dot Murphy attended the show as honorary judges.

Claiming first prize this year was sophomore Katherine Brown, who sang “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical “Les Misérables.”

“I really like the musical Les Misérables, and I thought the song fit my voice well,” Brown said. “But it took me a while to find a song to sing, and so I only started practicing a few days before auditions. Once I chose my song though, I practiced as much as I could until the day of the show.”

Junior Hubert Lui came in second place for his piano performance of “Etude-Tableau Op. 33 No. 8,” which was originally composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff. Sophomore Katie Pelikan placed third for singing and playing the piano to “On My Own” from “Les Miserables.”

Many of the performances at ECG’s Got Talent included variations of singing, including Trisha Santanam and Angie Guerrero’s duet of “City of Stars” from the movie “La La Land.”

“I think the song has some really good harmonies which work well with Angie and I’s different voice types,” Santanam said. “I knew as soon as I heard Angie’s voice I wanted to sing with her.”

Other acts included dance, such as clogging and hip-hop, poetry and music in the form of guitar and slide whistle. Lan Truong and Kiran Soma danced to a remix of “Treasure” by Bruno Mars and “Getting Closer” by Seventeen.

“We wanted to incorporate not just American dance but create a cross-cultural piece,” Truong said. “We chose a cheerful upbeat American song and mixed it with some K-pop, which we love.”

With such an academic-based environment at the Early College at Guilford, students enjoy any opportunity they have to share other talents they are passionate about.

“The talent show is really cool because it shows that we aren’t just a bunch of nerds,” Guerrero said.

Truong expressed similar sentiments.

“All the ECG students have to really focus on their academics,” Truong said. “So they don’t really have a chance to show off other things that they can do besides their brain smarts. It’s a chance for them to show off their entire potential, not just ‘Oh, we’re smart. We can do math,’ but that they’re flexible in other areas.”