On Friday, January 11, at Pawling High School, the annual Pawling’s Got Talent competition took place, starting at 6:30 p.m. Presented by Pawling Public Radio, the event featured separate Junior and Senior Divisions, with a variety of acts and gifted contestants vying for top honors.
In the Senior Division this year, the winner was pianist Michael Bai. In the Junior Division, the first place winner was singer Alyssa Garcia.
There were performances by singles and pairs. Each participant who came up to the stage was introduced by Master of Ceremonies Jeff Arnold. Performances were evaluated by a panel of judges including Pawling Middle School Principal Megan Gleason and Pawling Public Radio personality Michael Shustak. Contestants were judged on a variety of factors, such as skill, energy, and connection with the audience.
The junior division performed in the first half of the evening, with many great singers and musicians playing a variety of instruments, from piano to harp. All participants in this division were in middle school or elementary school.
Following an intermission, contestants in the Senior Division took the stage. While mostly made up of high school students, the older division featured several adults, all with impressive voices. The group also had many accomplished dancers, featuring tap dance, ballroom dance, and interpretive dance. There were many exceptional singers who delivered songs in a range of genres, from classic rock to sweet ballads, with each artist wowing the crowd.
There were also many talented instrumentalists. The Senior Division commenced with Michael Bai on piano accompanied by a duo of non-competitors playing guitar. The audience sang along to classic songs, which created a joyous and unified community atmosphere.
After the Senior Division contestants had performed, there was a short break, which allowed the judges to name their picks as winners for the evening. While the judges went into a separate room to deliberate, snacks and drinks were available for purchase in the cafeteria.
With such a variety of talented acts, it was surely a daunting task to name “the best” for the night. Nevertheless, eventually winners were selected and announced for each division. Senior Division winners were first-place Michael Bai, second-place John Comerford, and Emma Donovan and Noelle Vitro placed third as a pair. In the Junior Division, Alyssa Garcia took first place, Sebastian Ore took second, and Griffin Arnold and Emma Leahy won third place.
With a full house of fans excited to watch their peers, family, and friends entertain, this year’s Pawling’s Got Talent competition was a fun-filled musical treat packed with truly talented performers.
Lauren Radicchi is a sophomore at Pawling High School.