Yes, Clay County's Got Talent
A group of Clay County residents of all ages entertained and competed Saturday night, March 9, for the coveted title of Best Talent in Clay County 2013.
The event, sponsored by the Clay County Arts Council, was held at the Piggott Community Center. Performers were introduced by Rector High School student Haven Cagle, former Miss Northeast Arkansas Outstanding Teen, who is an arts advocate and member of the CCAC.
Haven welcomed the audience and explained the judging process for the competition, which was similar to the old television show "Saturday Night at the Apollo." After all contestants performed, each was called to the stage and the audience showed their favorites through applause and cheers.
A microphone monitor displayed the recorded score, and the person with the most audience support was awarded the trophy.
Winner of the Best Talent of Clay County 2013 was 14-year-old Kody Beaver from Rector. Kody's performed "What the World Needs Now" with a special rendition like Louis Armstrong. He was an audience pleaser and left the stage with lots of cheers.
The winner received a beautiful trophy and a basket of goodies worth over $200. Feather Your Nest in Piggott was a sponsor for the gift certificate and the CCAC provided the basket, along with tickets to the Council's next two major events and a family membership.
Randy Johnson was the winner of a door prize awarded at the end of the evening. That, too, included a family membership worth $50.
The other contestants included in the top four were:
* Lindsey Ford, a junior at Rector High School, who performed the song "Swinging."
* Sophie Simmons, 10-year-old daughter and Stephen and Jamie Simmons and a student at Rector Elementary School, who performed a lyrical solo dance to "Wonderful World."
* Shay Lynn Eubanks, a Rector School student who performed a varity act to "White Liar," singing and playing a guitar.
Other competition numbers were: Karah Hayes, the seven-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rowdy Hayes of Rector, who danced to "21st Century Girl"; Gail Dollins of Piggott, who presented a vocal solo "Someone Died for Me", and Sophie Simmons, who performed a musical theatre dance number entitled "Big Time."
In addition to the contestants, several other talented performers entertained the audience, including: Larry Ross Norred, an accomplished pianist and music composer, who played several songs including "What a Friend Medley"; Cathy Norred, who sang "All of Me," "Always on My Mind" and "Blue Skies", and Gail Dollins, who returned to the stage to perform "Ask Me Why" and "The Promise."
The evening's program chair was CCAC board member Kenneth Renshaw, who entertained on the piano with "Polonaire in A Major," "Somewhere My Love," "Last Date" and "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms."
The last performer for the evening was Megan Johnson of Piggott, who played the guitar and sang two songs, "Turning Tables" and "Someone Pinch Me," an original song.
Each adult member of the audience received a gift bag with information about the Clay County Arts Council, Inc. The Council provides support of the arts throughout Clay County and provides scholarships for area students pursuing study in the arts at any college or university to which they have been accepted.
The Council members who helped with this event included: Marvin and Jane Gatewood, tickets, gift bags and programs; Glenna Bookout, registration; Kenneth Renshaw, event chair; Karen Cagle, program; Linda Robinson, publicity; Leonard Bradbury, set up and spotlight; Joe Burns, clean up, and Gail Burns, planner co-coordinator.
The CCAC's upcoming events include The Giant Puppet Show for all ages, a national traveling troupe which will showcase April 19 at the Rector Community Center with performances at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (all schools in the area have received an invitation), and the final event of the season, the CCAC Arts Camp, set June 3-8. That event will conclude with the CCAC Celebration of the Arts, June 8, at the Rector Community Center, honoring Demetra Shultz for her service in the arts and the community.
"If you missed the March 9 event, please mark your calendars for the above dates," said CCAC president Gail Burns. "Our message to you is: 'The way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement.'"