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‘Ashby Has Talent’

Skills on display at the sixth annual talent show

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December 12th, 2016
High school students who work in Ashby Ponds’ dining services department joined together as The Blue Sky Canaries to perform a rendition of “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran.

High school students who work in Ashby Ponds’ dining services department joined together as The Blue Sky Canaries to perform a rendition of “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran.

This fall, members of the Ashby Ponds community dazzled a full house at the Great Oak performing arts theater at the sixth annual talent show.

“I think it was our best show yet,” says community member Barbara Hanson, who accompanied many of the performers on the piano. “We had a nice variety of acts. There was something for everyone.”

The show featured 12 performances by Ashby Ponds residents and staff members, including vocal soloists, a men’s trio, a saxophone performance, a karate demonstration, a sign language demonstration, and line dancing. 

“Our talent show is so much fun,” says community member Ann West, who led performances by the sign language group and the Ashby Ponds line dancers. “The best part is learning more about my neighbors, especially discovering their often-hidden talents.”

Hard work pays off

“Our first show premiered in 2011,” says community member and show organizer Phyllis Lynne. “The show is always free and informal. Our purpose is to have fun as a community while sharing our talents.”

Prior to the performance, Phyllis and her dedicated volunteers scheduled rehearsal time for each act in order to address timing issues and facilitate support. 

“It’s important to plan it out so we don’t showcase too much of one thing consecutively,” says community member and dancer Tamara Webb. “We also need to take into account that some residents performed in multiple acts, such as Barbara.”

Tamara, a former professional dancer, joined staff member Lorena Snyder in a dance duet to “Espana Cani,” a famous instrumental Spanish piece of paso doble music.

“We had a great time,” says Tamara. “I always have so much fun getting on stage and performing.”

Community members Keith George, Bruce Marshall, and Maurice Rudiselle, known as The Stouthearted Men, performed “Moonlight Bay,” “Irish Lullaby,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and “Stouthearted Men,” a medley arranged and accompanied by Barbara.

“We wanted to sing songs that the audience enjoys,” says Keith. “Our trio enjoys music and appreciates the opportunity to perform. I had a number of people tell me after the show that they enjoyed the entire show.”  

Community member Ann West prepared two groups for their talent show performances: the Ashby Ponds sign language group and the line dancers.

“In hopes for continuing community interest in sign spelling, I found a version of an alphabet song, “A, You’re Adorable,” that was slow enough for each performer from the sign language group to take turns signing each letter of the alphabet and then repeat the alphabetic gestures at the end.”

Closing out the talent show, Ann led the Ashby Ponds line dancers in their line dance performance of “Come Dance With Me.” 

“The dance incorporated a fox trot rhythm that was fairly difficult and included a three-quarter turn,” she says. “I am very proud of everyone for their performance.”

Even Ashby Ponds staff members joined in the fun, including a vocal performance of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” by The Blue Sky Canaries, a group of high school dining servers and their manager Alexzandria Batey.

“It was fun to do something with the dining team outside of our usual work interactions,” says Batey. “I didn’t realize how many talented people worked within our department. After the performance, we had employees come and ask how they can join our group for next year’s show.”

Looking forward

“The talent show is a labor of love, and we will, no doubt, perform again next year,” says Phyllis. 

In the meantime, the wide range of talents at Ashby Ponds will be highlighted on the “Ashby Has Talent” segment of the in-house cable station’s weekly program This Week. To date, various residents, including performers, gardeners, videographers, and artists, have showcased their work on the show.

“The variety of talents at Ashby Ponds is remarkable,” says Tamara. “I’m so happy to live in a community where these gifts are shared and appreciated.”

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