With an auditorium full of eager students, parents and community members, “Festival of Talent” was awaiting to start in the theater of Ventura High School. People were swiftly ushered to their seats as they were anxiously yearning to see the acts by Ventura locals. A busy buzz filled the room but as soon as the lights dimmed, full attention took to the stage as the 17th annual Festival of Talent began.
For 17 years, and many more to come, Ventura community calls for all passionate artists to reveal and share their love for the arts to community members. With a theme of “Walking on Sunshine” the amazing array of talents shone bright, quickly putting the audience in awe. As singers, dancers, musicians and a comedian took the stage, hoots and hollers filled the auditorium.
The performances started out with a happy sing-along for everyone to enjoy and then went to a more serious mood when a few of the many performances touched up on the disaster that struck our very own home, the Thomas fire. A dance was performed by a young girl named Jade Reily who gracefully danced in front of projections of news broadcasts about the fire. The crowd fell silently and were in wonderment.
Another performance, “We Will Rise,” an original piece written by Joel Levin, was performed by Levin, Emily Bradvica, Kierstin Torres, the Ventura Unified School District notable choir, the Harmonix and the Broadway Juniors. This song was an empowering one about how from the ashes and flames, Ventura will continue to carry on stronger than ever. Teary eyes and heavy hearts were inevitable during this touching act.
Once the curtains closed and intermission passed, the second half of the production commenced and was just as beautiful as the first half. Opening with a powerful performance of a original song from the band “The Crickets,” the audience went into the rest of the acts dancing in their seats and having a great time.
Once the band exited, the first ever comedian in “Festival of Talent,” Henry Oaks ‘22, took the stage. With the audience looking on, Oaks evoked laughter throughout the auditorium and raised everyone’s spirits with his hilarious jokes.
Various dancing and singing acts gloriously made their mark on the audience afterwards and all set the scene for the final act, a rendition of “This is Me” from “The Greatest Showman.” Performed by mother and daughter, Tina and Cassidy Craig ‘18, the performance inspired and astonished everyone by the sheer beauty and passion in which it was sung. Close to the end of the song, all the performers took the stage to represent the fact that they all were apart of something that celebrated the individuality and uniqueness of each and every one of them.
Larissa Reyes ‘20, a student of Ventura High School and performer in the “Ballet Folklorico Bell Arts” group which did a Latin dance, remarked on the uniqueness of the production and said it allowed her to “[share] this culture with people” since “it’s something that you don’t usually see.”
This ability to share who you are with others isn’t the only thing that drives people to the production. “The environment of being on stage” as Abby Block ‘23, a Balboa Middle School student and singer, stated is a large factor in choosing the production.
However, the most obvious reason for the performers drive for the “Festival of Talent” truly seems to be the fact that they just simply love performing. It was evident on the stage with each performer that they loved it and that passion exuded from them. From this a production was created that was full of the truest beauty, which is the confidence to do what you love and the ability to pass this joy to so many others.