Talent Challenge Aids Cancer Fight

By MATT MCALLISTER
Daily Courier-Observer
SATURDAY, MAY 29, 2010

LISBON - From a one-man drum show to a barefoot version of 'Cowboy Casanova' this year's St. Lawrence Talent Challenge featured a number of diverse performances.

But when the final act had left the stage Troy O'Brien, a 14-year-old from Potsdam Central, was walking away with the winner's trophy and $100.

Kelsey Newtown, 13, an eighth grader at St. Lawrence Central School, earned the second place medal and $75, and Northern Lights, a six-student group from Heuvelton, took third place and $50.

Twelve performances from 12 different St. Lawrence County school districts were featured in the Jules of Life-sponsored event held in the Lisbon Central School auditorium.

All proceeds of the event go to area families battling pediatric cancer, including two special guests, David F. Troiano, an OFA sophomore, and Zachary Hamilton, a Canton Central School nine-year-old.

The judges included Ogdensburg Mayor William D. Nelson; Judy Chase, an actor, singer and director; Dr. Adam Jarrett, actor and doctor; Joe Liotta, co-founder of the Norwood Village Green Concert Series; Traci Fordham, St. Lawrence University professor and Canton band member; and Bernie Mulvaney of the Crane School of Music.

Brooke Arquitt, 14, of Hammond Central School, led off the evening with her cover of Shania Twain's, "From This Moment".

Ben Foster, a ten-year-old from Gouverneur Central School, was next, his feet not even touching the floor during a piano solo.

Dr. Jarrett's daughter, 14-year old Jaime Jarrett, from Ogdensburg Free Academy, then delivered a unique version of "Cabaret."

'Slightly Twisted' featuringNick Rycroft (lead singer), Joshua LaDue (guitar), Dan LaDue (guitar), and Caleb Tuper (drums), became the show's first group entry, belting out their original tune, "Take My Hand".

The fifth performer, Kaitlyn Morgan of Hammond, a last-minute alternate standing in for Wayne Brown, a homeschooled student, produced an emotional performance.

Northern Lights consisting of Linsay Tennant, Kaitlyn LaShomb, Keith Gallucci, Brian Nichols, Jack Tennant, and Jonathan Kingsley, all of Heuvelton Central School, capped off the first half of the program with their crowd-pleasing, a cappella version of "Africa".
The action continued following the break with Lisbon Central School's own Kane Jordan, whose five-minute, one-man drum solo got the crowd up and rocking.

Ember Sassone, a 17 year old from Canton Central, followed with, "Temporary."

Madison Avenue consisting of Madrid-Waddington's Tyler Jaquith and Gavin Acres, were next on guitars, playing, "The Ghost of St. Valentine."

Clifton-Fine Central School's KNO3 - Caitlin Gearsbeck and Dustin Sovie - performed a singer/guitar duet of Bon Jovie's, "Dead or Alive."

Mr. O'Brien, a 14-year-old Potsdam Central School student, returned for the second year, featuring a moving rendition of "Hallelujah."

St. Lawrence Central School's Ms. Newtown, 13, finished off the evening with "Cowboy Casanova."

Courtesy of the Daily Courier-Observer