So, you think you got talent? So said the 11 acts made up of Andrew High School students who took to the stage Jan. 25 to compete in Andrew’s Got Talent.
It is designed to feature the talent of students who want to perform their own compositions, provide their own interpretation of a musical selection and have an opportunity to showcase their work in front of the community. The annual event sets the stage for the winning act to be featured in a performance during Andrew Fest at the end of the school year.
“Students, staff, administration, and parents love to see an outlet for our students to use performance art as an expression of their talents and as a way to process life,” said Lisa Gonwa, auditorium director for Andrew High School. “Several students composed and choreographed their own work this year and we want to support our students' growth as artists. Other students covered music that is meaningful to them and we support them in sharing those songs and poems that speak to them and lift them up.”
Andrew’s Got Talent featured an array of musical tastes, with styles ranging from alternative and new wave to pop and rhythm and blues.
“We felt that the ‘Here right now’ piece was a way of encouraging people and inspiring people where we’ve all been at our lowest points, and we’ve all gone through trials and errors,” said Corlin Leonard, a junior and a back-up vocalist for this year’s winning act. “I was the writer of the lyrics and everything, but we just came together and we just exchanged ideas because it was all about teamwork. Because of them, it was just a great performance. I’m just so grateful.”
Leonard had never previously participated in Andrew’s Got Talent. The group’s decision to collaborate began when his friend, Andrew White, took the initiative and enlisted the help of Chad Yanik, Tautvydas Polius and Tim Krafcisin.
“I didn’t even think about us winning, it was just a blast,” Yanik said. “I didn’t think of it as a competition, it was just nice to know [the crowd] appreciated it.”
Students auditioned their pieces in December 2017, and they had a month to prepare what they wanted to showcase.
Polius said he feels humbled by this victory, and it wasn’t expected.
“I know all the people that performed, and they’re super talented,” he said. “It’s hard to even feel competitive because it’s like I love all these guys.”
Leonard dropped to his knees after learning that their group was named the winning act and said it brings great meaning to know what they’d accomplished.
“With that, I just want to give thanks, honor, and glory to God because He is the one that is just blessing me,” Leonard said. “He’s always walking with me. He’s always doing good things. I’m grateful for him, first and foremost, and then I’m just grateful for these guys.”
Krafcisin credited the group’s commitment to teamwork as a key to their success.
“I came up with a few lyrics; came up with the song title, ‘Here right now’,” Krafcisin said. “We came up with the chords originally, [we] just made a sound around it, and then eventually went with lyrics from there and whatever sounded good and sometimes vocal tune-ups, things like that.”
Gonwa gave kudos to the school, its administration and Board of Education for their commitment to the arts.
“Andrew High School is committed to the arts and in it's ability to reach students in a different capacity than standard curriculum does,” she said. “All of the experiences students have during the course of their high school career are valuable, and the Andrew community has always recognized and supported the fact that there are a variety of opportunities that help students feel supported, valued, and encouraged.”