‘Haywood’s Got Talent’ winners announced

Sep 29, 2011
Photo by: Ron Frendreis Katelyn Hammel, a 13-year-old violinist from Clyde, was the grand-prize winner of "Haywood's Got Talent."

The Haywood Arts Regional Theater’s first region-wide talent show finals played to a standing room-only audience Friday night with 14 show-stopping acts competing for a top prize of $1,000. In the end, the judges were split, each favoring a different performer and the audience helped decide the final outcome.

Top honors and a $1,000-prize went to Katelyn Hammel, a 13-year-old violinist from Clyde. Second place was divided into two categories. The winner in the 15-and-younger slot was Thomas Tatham, a 14-year-old Pisgah High School student who taught himself to play the banjo and wowed the crowd with his amazing virtuosity.  The winner in the 16-and-older slot was Heather Ferguson, an operatic soprano who lives in Canton. Ferguson sang the difficult “Queen of the Night Aria” from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.”

Each act was greeted with cheers from the crowd, and the diversity of entries made things very difficult for the three judges, which included HART Board member Bob Taylor, Martin Rader, a retired faculty member of the University of N.C. School of the Arts, and Regina Fernandez, a professional actress who is a guest in the community performing in HART’s upcoming production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” which opens September 30.

The other finalists included Martin’s Machine, an area band that played roots rock; The Fox Violinists, two 7-year-old twins accompanied by their father on the piano; outstanding vocalists Ashley Wood; Trevor Perry; Madison Garris and Holly Ann Harmon each showed style and the ability to get a crowd cheering. HART’s scenic artist, Lyle Baskin, surprised many with his guitar, The Dog House Duo filled the room with their beautiful performance on dulcimers, Reagan Mulvey gave “cute” new meaning with her song-and-dance routine, and Michaela Hannah performed a jazz dance number that stopped the first act.

In the end, the most unusual performance was the RaqShuraka Dance Company, a group of local belly dancers who performed Zombie Fusion Bellydance to finish out the show. Each act had made it through auditions and semifinals to compete for the final prize, and in the end they all had a chance to perform before a full house.

The event was a major success for HART which has already decided to make this at least an annual event and maybe more often than that. “Haywood’s Got Talent” proved that Haywood certain does.