WJ hosts Young Artist show

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Spencer Selbert, a senior at West Jefferson High School, will perform at the Young Artists Showcase on Jan. 27 at West Jefferson High School.

Every year, the Madison County Arts Council’s Young Artist Showcase shines the spotlight on school-age musicians and vocalists. The same will happen again this year, but with a change in venue and sponsorship.

Set for 3 p.m. Jan. 27, the Showcase will take place at West Jefferson High School, not First United Methodist Church in London as it has for the past 10 years.

“It wasn’t possible to do it in West Jefferson before; we just didn’t have the space for it,” said Mark Potter, who is coordinating the Showcase for the second year. “Now, the high school has a nice, new auditeria. It would be nice for people to come see it.”

The change in location is designed to attract more patronage and participation from West Jefferson, as well as promote the idea that the Arts Council is a countywide organization. Last year’s Showcase included one act from West Jefferson; this year, there are four. The lineup as a whole includes young talent from all parts of Madison County.

Also for the first time, the Showcase has a sponsor. The West Jefferson Community Association is covering the cost to have custodial staff on site, a requirement for after-hours events in the schools. The Jefferson Local School District has waived all other fees normally associated with renting the space.

The free show is open to the public and will feature youngsters ranging in age from 9 to 18. The 90-minute program runs the gamut of musical genres.

“It’s a really varied program, just like last year, which was a really big success,” Potter said.

The acts are as follows, with the possibility that more will be added by show time:

• From West Jefferson: Chase Potter on violin, accompanied by Keenan Wade on mandolin, playing two Mark O’Connor tunes, “I Don’t Love Nobody” and “Swingin’ on the Ville”; Spencer Selbert, vocals and piano, “Landed” by Ben Folds; West Jefferson Jazz Ensemble, directed by Ken Huff, “A Night in Tunisia” by Dizzy Gillespie; and Ashley Neher, vocals.

• From Plain City: Mallory Skaggs, vocals and guitar, “Rain” by Mallory Skaggs; Andrew and Christopher Conti, piano duo, three movements from “Jazz Suite” by Kevin Olson (“A Swing Thing,” “Ballad for Julia” and “Blue Waltz”); Ben Rohrig, solo piano, “The Minute Waltz” by Frederic Chopin; and The Miller String Quartet, featuring Emilie and Carrie on violin, Andrew on viola, and Thomas on cello, playing “Lord of the Dance” by Ronan Hardiman.

• From London: Tracy Sweigart, vocals, “Per la Gloria d’Adorarvi” by Bononcini; Rachael Richardson, vocals, “Who’ll Buy My Lavender” by German & Battersby, accompanied by Teri Gray on piano; Ruthie Peart, vocals, “Over the Rainbow” by Arlen & Harburg, accompanied by Teri Gray on piano; and the London Elementary Choir, directed by Teri Gray, “Do Re Mi” by Rodgers & Hammerstein and “The Earth Is Our Mother,” a traditional Native American song.

• From Madison-Plains: the Madison Plains High School Acapella Choir, directed by Jennifer Hoelle, performing “Stand By Me” by King, Lieber & Stoller.

“The Young Artists Showcase is one of those events that a lot of people always look forward to,” Potter said. “The talented youth of the county not only get to show what they can do, but also meet other talented kids.”

Potter also likes the idea that the youths on stage can inspire children in the audience to take up music. Sometimes, the spark comes faster and burns brighter when the age gap is eliminated, he said.

The Madison County Arts Council is a non-profit organization that strives to provide and foster education and entertainment through the presentation of the performing and visual arts. They can be visited online at www.mcaconline.org.

The next Arts Council event is the Music Revue, this year called “Favorites,” to be held April 5 at Brennan Loft in London. Arts Council patrons at the Young Artist Showcase will be given the opportunity to submit their favorite songs for performance at the Music Revue.

For more information about the Young Artists Showcase, call Mark Potter at 614-879-5005. Admission is free.

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