Talent Show Introduces Two Division Format

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Western Mass Performs 2019 is the tenth annual Monson Arts Council Talent show.  It is open to all ages, now in two divisions, and is looking for acts in all performance categories to perform for prizes totaling $1000!   It will take place at 7 pm on February 9 in Memorial Hall  in Monson.  The Application fee is $25 per act, with each act allowed five minutes.  It is a blast!  Really, everybody is a winner!

The event a fundraisier for the Monson Arts Council scholarship, with proceeds going to fund a scholarship for a Monson senior involved in the arts. 


Other key dates for applicants:

     Application Deadline:    Wednesday January 23, 2019

     Auditions:                       Friday January 25  and  Saturday January 26, 2019

     Rehearsal:                     Tuesday February 5, 2019, 7 pm


We are introducing a new two-division format:  an Open Division (open to all ages) and a Junior Division (12 and under), each with its own set of prizes:

     Open Division:                   First Place  -  $500       Runner up  -  $200

     Junior Division:                  First Place  -  $200       Runner up  -  $100

   We Welcome applicants in any performance category!

To Download Talent Show Rules, click here

To Apply Online,  click here

To Download Application Formclick here

To Download Minor Permission Form click here

To Download Photo Release Formclick here

To Download MPACT Video Release Formclick here


A Great Open Performance Evening


The annual Western Mass Performs competition was not held this year, but in its place an open performance evening was born and was a delightful success.  Many of those who applied to compete chose to come simply to perform, and  they were joined by others. One of the goals of the talent show was met: to offer a performance opportunity to anyone in the region who wished to show their stuff.


The other goal of the talent show, to raise funds for the Monson Arts Council annual scholarship, was also well served by the evening.  Though no admission was charged for the reformatted event, many chose to contribute voluntarily to the scholarship fund.  The evening raised over $330 in contributions, and over $80 in refreshment sales. Heartfelt thanks to all who contributed!


With a dozen performers taking the stage, each was able to do two songs or two routines, rather than the usual one.  All performers were seated among the audience with family and friends until their turn came up.  There were some marvelous voices on display, including an operatic aria, a stunning operatic duet by Erin and David Wallace, and a final reprise by Celine Lopes whose marvelous voice gave a fitting ending to the evening.  Erin, who was to have been a judge for the competition, also performed with he daughter Jolie in a delightful duet.



First Prize:          Oriana Siphanoum

Second Prize:    "Ace" Smikle and Damarr Smith

Third Prize:       Mark Ma

Honorable Mentions:    Benjamin Buck

                                     Justin and Franklin

                                     Monica Roche


Talent Show Performs Between Storms

The eighth annual Monson Arts Council talent show, Western Mass Performs, danced around the snowflakes this past Saturday night. With cleanup from the last storm still not complete, and with Sunday’s storm looming, the show went on splendidly in a blessed window of calm. An enthusiastic audience was regaled by 24 impressive acts, waiting patiently through some early sound difficulties, and thoroughly enjoying themselves.

The show is a fundraiser by the Monson Arts Council scholarship committee, with proceeds going to fund an annual scholarship award to a Monson high school senior.

The contingent of performers was truly a sampling of the Connecticut valley, with two acts each from Westfield and Easthampton, an act from Bement school in Deerfield, and another up from Manchester Connecticut. There was a satisfying balance of dancers, instrumentalists and vocalists, with many more acts deserving recognition than there were awards to give.

The first prize of $700 went to Oriana Siphanoum of Springfield, with a contemporary dance presentation entitled "Body Love", choreographed by Jennifer Dubilo of Artistic Dance Conservatory in East Longmeadow where Oriana is a student. The routine was a stunning balance of passion and elegance, as moving as it was polished.

Second prize of $200 went to a duo from Springfield, Horace "Ace" Smikle and Damarr Smith, with Ace on the keyboard and damarr doing the vocals. Their offering was John Legend’s "All of Me", and the chemistry between the two was evident throughout. A wonderful touch was added when Damarr’s two young children broke free of their mother and ran to the foot of the stage shouting for "Daddy!" Damarr never missed a beat.

The third prize winner of $100 was an incredible young pianist in the classical mould, Mark Ma, a Chinese national studying at Bement School in Deerfield. Used to practicing on the grand pianos at Bement, he had never before played on a keyboard, and lamented that the audience never heard the fullness of his music. No one but the performer could have found anything lacking in his fluid rendition of a Chopin Fantasy.

In addition to the three cash prizes, the judges awarded three "honorable mentions" to other acts fully deserving of recognition; these are in no particular order. One was given to another piano/vocalist duo, Justin Scott and Franklin Nichols. In addition to performing together, Justin was the guide for his blind accompanist throughout the evening. They delighted the audience with "Mr. Cellophane" from "Chicago". Another honorable mention was given to a regular presence in our show, Benjamin Buck of Longmeadow, who accompanied himself on the keyboard for his rendition of "Seven Years". The third went to one of many impressive female vocalists, and also a returning performer, Monica Roche of Palmer. Her rendition of "Stone Cold" by Demi Lovato was a wonderful vehicle for her powerful voice and impressive dynamic range.