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VUSD students’ work pays off at the Festival of Talent (50 photos)

Students preform in festival of talent
Students perform in festival of talent. Credit: Aysen Tan/The Foothill Dragon Press

As the Ventura High School auditorium filled with people waiting to watch their friends and family perform, the excitement backstage escalated.

Students from all over the district had been preparing to get the chance to go up on stage and do what they love. Some of them had been practicing for months, while others had been practicing for mere days. Regardless of how long they had prepared, excitement was definitely something everyone backstage was feeling.

This year was Ventura Unified School District’s 13th annual all-district talent show, The Festival of Talent. This year’s theme was “Dancing in the Street” and the show opened up with the VUSD staff singing and dancing to “Dancing in the Streets” by Marvin Gaye. The number was directed by Brian McDonald of the Rubicon Theater Company, who also directed the entire show.

McDonald combined many of the acts that auditioned separately, and to go along with the theme, almost every act had some stye of dance incorporated in it. VHS sophomore Gabriela Stefany, VHS junior Emma Vielbig, and Buena High School junior Siena Royan sang the song “At the Ballet” by Marvin Hamlisch, while others danced along with it.

Foothill senior Blake Silva had originally auditioned alone but was put together with the Joyful Noise Bell Choir, and performed “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay.

“I auditioned with another song, but a few days ago they changed it on me, so I could perform with another group,” said Silva.

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Some performers had obstacles other than altered acts to overcome. Claire Murphy, a 5th grader in the Citrus Glen choir, performed with an injury.

“I sprained my ankle, so I have to walk on crutches for two weeks, and I have my brace on, so I’m going to try to do it without a brace,” Murphy said.

The money earned from the ticket sales went to help fund the Ventura Educational Partnership Grant Program. The grant awards schools and school programs $1,000 twice each year. This money is used to help better the programs.

Along with the talent show, there was a $5 pasta dinner, provided by Milano’s. The money from this went to the Ventura Unified Leadership Council, which helps raise money for students who want to go to Camp Ramah, an ASB camp that Foothill and other VUSD high schools’ ASB classes attend every year.

Another pre-show festivity was a performance by Sweet ‘n Low Band, made up of Elle Gaston, Jack Combs, and Kenny Kuhnhofer, all of whom are freshmen at VHS, and Torrin Hill, who is a freshman at FTHS. Herbal Rootz Reggae Band and the Citrus Glen Choir also performed.

The Citrus Glen Choir performed to a mix of “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” by Jackie DeShannon and “Love Train” by The O’Jays.

VHS sophomore Izzy Kress  performed “Beauty in the World” with the VUSD high school show choir Company.

“It was amazing and exhilarating and it was a lot of fun. I wasn’t nervous while performing because I had the rest of Company with me,” Kress said about performing. “It’s like you’re all in this together, so it’s a little bit less nerveracking.”

Foothill freshman Ethan Ambler also enjoyed the spotlight.

“I felt hyped and that it was like a really big adrenaline rush.” Ambler said. 

He performed as a part of  The Billy Clower Dance Crew, which had been preparing their routine to a Method Man mix for months. Ambler has been dancing for four years, and he has been with the Billy Clower Dance Crew since the beginning of the school year.

After the Billy Clower group’s performance, there was a finale where all of the Festival of Talent participants took the stage and danced along to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, and thanked everyone who helped put on the show.


Background Image Credit: Aysen Tan/ The Foothill Dragon Press

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VUSD students’ work pays off at the Festival of Talent (50 photos)