WCC Talent Show Gave Singer/Songwriter a Career Start


Published on Jan 30, 2013 11:57am by Janet Hawkins,

Auditions For the Next Show Are Feb. 14

Twenty-four-year-old Princeton Michael is a passionate singer/songwriter. But performing his original work in front of a live audience was nerve wracking. That all changed when he auditioned and was selected for the WCC Talent Show in 2008.

The experience helped steady his nerves and gave his confidence a big boost. With talent and self-assurance, he entered a Canton recording studio in January to cut his first R&B single, “Ghost.” It will be released this summer.

“I was very comfortable writing and singing, but not performing in front of an audience,” said Michael, who graduated from the WCC digital media film program in 2009. “I knew if I wanted to make this my profession, to do what I really love to do, I would have to force myself out of my comfort zone. Because it was pointless if people couldn’t hear my music.”

He said that his 2008 Talent Show performance was the first time he sang original music in front of an audience. “What I love about that experience is that it created a platform for me to build on. Once I performed I started to create a name for myself around school and I began to open up,” he said. “It really helped me grow as an individual. It helped me make up my mind whether or not I was serious about it. And I am very serious.”

More and More Acts Want to Perform

WCC’s annual Talent Show has grown in popularity since the Student Activities department began sponsoring it in 2006. Last year close to 20 acts were turned away, according to Rachel Barsch, who coordinates the event.

“The show is usually held once a year in November,” she said. “We choose 25 acts that can perform up to six minutes. With introductions and intermissions it runs about two-and-a-half hours. Last year we felt really bad that we couldn’t include everyone who auditioned. That’s why, for the first time, we are sponsoring a show in the Winter Semester.”

One of the things they look for is stage presence, said Barsch. “They have to be able to connect with the audience. And while the acts involve mostly singing and dancing, there is a lot of variety in the ways students present it,” she said.

“We’ve had singers who have performed to recorded tracks and others who have piano backup. One girl sang a Japanese pop song with the translation on a big screen behind her. We’ve had hip-hop and lyrical solo and group dancers. A couple times we had stand-up comedians and once we had a contortionist. Spoken word performances are also popular.”

One of the more unusual students to audition, Barsch said, was a war veteran who spoke about combat and did an interpretive dance with martial arts movements.

Prizes are given for first, second, and third place winners. Michael finished second when he took the stage in 2008. First place that year went to Patchwerk, a dance troupe that has been featured on the BET network’s “106 and Park” show, according to Barsch.

Auditions for the March 15 Talent Show will be Thursday, Feb. 14, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Towsley Auditorium. You can sign up online. For more information, contact Student Activities at 734-973-3500.