On Wednesday, March 6, students, staff, and families of Radford High School were treated with seven young, amazing performers at the “Brown Bags to Stardom” talent show held in the gym.
“You can only fit so much within an hour, but we were able to give seven students an opportunity to perform,” says student activities director Mr. John Goto.
This annual talent show had been put on hold since the late 90s, according to Goto. However, with the help of student body president Rachel Abellera, fellow students, and some community helpers, this Brown Bag to Stardom event returned two years ago.
“Preparation took three months. It involved ongoing announcements, permission slips, getting faculty involved, and securing use of the gym,” says Goto. “But it was worth it. You can’t please everybody, but if it’s something the kids like, then that’s the main thing. We gotta give something back to the kids – something fun to participate in.”
“The number one thing was promoting the event,” adds Abellera. “With promotion, you get people to be involved, which is always a great thing because this is something we really wanted to do. We wanted to bring back the tradition.”
From promoting the event to setting up the performance stage, Abellera, Goto, and a helpful handful of supporters were still able to secure special guests such as OC16’s executive producer Johnny Kai, Miss Junior Teen Amber Aduja, Miss Teen Hawaii Samantha Neyland, 102.7 Da Bomb’s Jimmy Taco, and dance group Hyper Squad.
Prior to the performances, the Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) presented the colors and the National Anthem was sung by student Megan Dolores. The Hawaii Pono’i followed and the judges were then introduced by emcees Julian Brown and Hadji Corpuz, both seniors.
Social Studies teacher Corey Allen, Academy of Hype’s Rob Rideb, and comedic hypnotist Greg Gabaylo were this year’s judges, each bringing years of experience in the field of entertainment and performance.
“The judges were chosen because they all have different backgrounds and levels of talent in acting, performing, dancing, and teaching,” says Abellera.
Gabaylo, who has been judging events for approximately 30 years, got his first taste of performing at only eight years of age, when he did a juggling act. He has come to be known as a world class juggler and a master hypnotist.
“I love seeing new talent, listening to inspirational songs, and giving motivation to the students,” says Gabaylo, who also works as a DJ and a motivational speaker. “Events like this help students get exposure to entertainment. It also helps them with self-confidence.”
Aiding in their confidence, students who made it beyond the audition stage were given a rehearsal day and also had a chance to rehearse for 20 minutes on the day of the event.
Though the audition was open to various talents, those who signed up just happened to be singers.
The audience was treated with Rhianna’s “Love the Way You Lie” sung by sophomore Shyanne Lewis, Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy” sung by freshman Erin Choo with guitar played by teacher Mr. Troy Freitas, and Passion’s “Lemonade” sung by sophomore Teresa Nyguen with ukulele by sophomore Sarah Gilo-Sahut.
And the judges’ picks for the 2013 Brown Bags to Stardom talent show are: 1st Place – freshman Nicole Villejo singing “One Moment in Time” by Whitney Houston, 2nd Place – senior Kasey Gabriel singing “Lithium” by Evanescence, and 3rd Place – senior Christian Dela Cruz singing “When We Say” by AJ Rafael.
Though there were only three winners based on judging criteria, every competitor displayed a winning spirit and was able to get the audience involved.
“Competitions like these help two things,” says Allen, who teaches the drumline as well as social studies. “One, it makes the performance a true learning experience as to what a performance really is for aspiring performers, and two, it is a great test of courage, which is help for any real world scenario.”
The three months of preparation has finally ended and the talent show turned out to be a success.
“The crowd got involved and cheered, and I’m proud of what we accomplished,” says Abellera.
“The kids here at Radford are very sensitive to each other’s feelings, they are very respectful and they support each other,” adds Goto.
In addition to the talent competition, there was a dance performance by Hyper Squad, free giveaways from 102.7 Da Bomb, teacher recognition of Mr. Grant Takiguchi, and the traditional closing with the school’s alma mater.
Advice to next year’s student body president?
“It's gonna be a lot of hard work, but if you stick with it and work hard, you can accomplish anything,” says Abellera.
And for the rest of Radford High School’s students?
“Stay in school, say ‘no’ to drugs, and have your heart and mind always focused on goals,” says Gabaylo. “Always have that desire in your heart to move forward successfully.”