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Marquette Wire

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Marquette Wire

Center Stage Talent Show raises money for St. Ann Center

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The Center Stage Talent Show returned to the Turner Hall Ballroom  Mar. 1 for its third year. Put on by St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care, the show included talent-filled people young and old.

Some of the performers were Warped Dance Company, pianist Benjamin Nelson, 56-year-old belly dancer Dimitra Anderson,  and Marquette’s own all-female a capella group, The Meladies.

St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care’s goal was to bring in more fundraising dollars as they transition into the spring season. The organization provides health, wellness, disability services and educational services to babies aged 6 weeks through people older than 100. They also serve as a religious and community center. Their mission is to prevent adults from being prematurely institutionalized; they aim to keep people in their community and provide a resource for caregivers.

Casey Rozanski, Vice President of Fund Development & Marketing said that the winter cold has caused a dip in the number of clients they have been able to help.

“We noticed that there wasn’t really any talent shows going on in the city,” Rozanski said, and that was how the idea for the talent show came to life.

St. Ann Center opens auditions each year to the Milwaukee area and surrounding community.

“It really helps us introduce new people to what we do here, so it’s a great way for us to spread our word and get new faces and new people involved,” Rozanski said. The process of auditions included applicants submitting a video of themselves performing either through email or Facebook. The staff members of St. Ann Center then selected 10 performers for the show.

The organization’s emphasis on targeting an intergenerational audience transferred to the show. The youngest performer was around six years old, and there were older adults in their 60s and 70s.

“The talent is very reflective of what we do,” Rozanski said. The panel of judges is also intergenerational.

Cathy Feldkamp, a member of the Fund Development & Marketing team, said that the location of the Turner Hall Ballroom was selected because Rozanski worked as a bartender there. St. Ann Center selected the name “Center Stage Talent Show” because the center wanted to include its name in the title.

The doors opened an hour before the show started and provided guests with food, a magician, and face painting for children. A 50/50 raffle also took place, and two baskets were raffled off to winners of the game “Heads or Tails.”

The winner of last year’s talent show served as a judge for this year’s show. The winner of this year’s show was selected by a panel of three judges, and the second place winner was selected by the audience based on applause. The winner, Alycia Obiakor, a 13 year-old soloist who covered Adele’s “When We Were Young” got a prize of $1,000 and second place, nicknamed the “Fan Favorite,” the Band Hennes, a rock band made up of sisters ages 6, 9, 11, 13 got $500.

“We celebrate that no matter how small or how much they can do, we have a whole set performance area. We wanted to share that welcoming and joyful atmosphere with the greater Milwaukee area,” Feldkamp said. She said the Center Stage Talent Show spotlights talents that otherwise wouldn’t have an opportunity to be showcased, and provides a variety show unlike anything else.

“Everyone (had) a really great time. I always hear that it’s very fun and entertaining to go to,” Rozanski said. It’s also been very successful for St. Ann’s as well. She said that they will keep putting on the talent show as long as it keeps raising money for the organization.

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