Pawling’s Got Talent!

Emily Chin won first place in the Junior Division.

On November 22nd, Pawling Public Radio hosted their annual Pawling’s Got Talent contest at Pawling High School. Many of Pawling’s talented citizens put it all on the line, singing, dancing, twirling, strumming, drumming, tapping and hip-hopping their way into the hearts of the community.

The event organizer, Joan Roberts was handed the reins, who addressed the comfortable-seated crowd and laid out the rules and judging guidelines. Each contestant was tasked with delivering an energetic, upbeat, performance in their chosen talent.

You could feel the excitement in the air, as the audience was extremely vocal and enthusiastic. Everyone’s favorite funnyman, returning Master of Ceremonies, Jeff Arnold’s observational humor put the contestants at ease while keeping the program moving along at an enjoyable pace.

The judges had the task of selecting three winners in each division, who were awarded a trophy as well as cash prizes: First Place $100, Second $50 and Third $25. According to Mike Shustak, one of the evening’s judges, “narrowing it down to the top three performers from each division was extremely challenging. The talent was off the charts, making for a lot of lively discussion among the judges.”

Placing third in the Junior Division was Caity Weis, a vocalist who performed “Beauty In The World.” Second Place went to breakdancers Beckham Smith & Aedan Zoller. First Place was ultimately awarded to Emily Chin, for her vocal rendition of “Defying Gravity.” Other Junior Division performers included Griffin Arnold, Emily Chin, Grace Cozzocrea, Grace Delahanty, Alyssa Garcia, Mikaela Merchan, Natalie Sbordone, Beckham Smith & Aeden Zoller, Julianne Vesseliza, Caity Weis, Sam Willie and Sara Willie.

In the Senior Division, Lorraine Burns picked up third place for her fiddle playing, vocalist Denzel Davidson was awarded second, while Magnola & Inga Gararino won over the crowd with their vocal/ukulele duo to capture first place. The Senior Division also saw performances by John Comerford and Joe Wolff, Danielle Noonan and Tim LaRue.

PPR’s Chairman, Bill Bonecutter took time to summarize the evening’s triumph saying, “It was a pleasure to see everyone enjoying themselves. We are grateful to the community for their support and all who contributed to make this year’s event a rousing success. All of our volunteers gave 110%. Shawn Finney, owner of L-R Studios, generously recorded the entire event and is editing for a future rebroadcast.” Stay tuned for the date and time updates at or

In a personal FB post the following day, Joan Roberts expressed appreciation to all who supported, including “husband David, The Annex Florist, The Book Cove for selling tickets. To our preliminary and final judge team; James Schmitt, Coleen Farrell Snow, Gillian Rinaldo, Jacque Roche and Mike Shustak, Bill Bonecutter, Alicia Nace, Camille Ludington, Caroline Bennett, and Brianne Chasanof, the parents for their support and awesome intermission treats. Jan LaRue for the amazing Lemon Squares! Our performers who worked so hard, The Pawling Central School District for the wonderful auditorium renovation and new lighting system. The Pawling Resource Center for printing our flyers and programs. Jen Panzer for the design of our dazzling show poster. All the local merchants who let me put posters in their windows. All the business who placed ads in our program. The Pawling Record for getting the word out about the show. Mary Gardner for page turning. Kathleen Plumer and her family for selling tickets at the door and Louie and the Pawling HS Custodial Staff. It was a great night and I thank you all so much!”

Lorraine Burns fiddled her way to a third place award.

Magnola and Inga Gararino took top honors in the Senior Division