Kane Fair Talent Contest finalists are stage vets
By Paul Sullivan For The Courier-News June 29, 2012 4:06PM
Kane Fair talent show organizer Larry Rossi introduces Hip Hop Dance – Bounce, including Ian Berk, 9, Aurora Ethan Reimer, 11, Aurora Dominic Campobasso, 10, Aurora Isaac Serna, 7, Oswego
Kane Fair Talent Finalists
Nicole DiSandro, 14, Elburn (Song: “Gimme, Gimme”)
Alexis Nguyen, 13, Pingree Grove, (Song: “Good Girl”)
Matt Skirmont, 13, Batavia (Song: “Forever and Ever”)
Francesca Carravetta, 10, St. Charles (Song: “The Show”)
Sydney Poss, 9, North Aurora (Song: “Don’t Rain on My Parade”)
Daniel Souvigny, 11, Hampshire (Piano: “Handful of Keys”)
Kiersten Larsen, 11, South Elgin (Song: “What it Means to be Friends”)
Kate Jarecki, 14, Aurora (Song: “On My Own”)
Madison Kleba, 14, Campton Hills (Song: “La Pastorella”)
Megan Morten, 18, South Elgin; Rachel Morten, 18, South Elgin; and Kendra Knorst, 17, St. Charles (Dance: “Crazy Love”)
Alena Christopherson, 16, Aurora (Dance: “Captivate Us”)
Emily Schmid, 16, Geneva (Dance: “Sway”)
Valerie Nardini, 15, St. Charles (Song: “Where the People Are”)
Eric Luminais, 19, Geneva (Flute: “Three Beats for Beat Box, Beats 1 and 2”)
Niykee Heaton, 17, Geneva and Brittnee Barstatis, 20, Batavia (Song with guitar played by Barstatis: “Happily Ever After”)
Katelyn Jassoy, 14, Campton Hills (Song: “I Dreamed a Dream”)
Joe Foster, 16, Geneva (Trombone accompaniment to dancer Emily Schmid)
San Sandberg, 15, Geneva (Song: “Jolene”)
Lucy Avila, 16, Batavia (Piano: “Circle of Life”)
Updated: August 2, 2012 6:06AM
ST. CHARLES — At recent auditions for the Kane County Fair Talent Contest, the stage at St. Patrick Catholic School was filled with hopes, dreams and talent. Some of the contestants may even become future stars. But all were stars to the parents, grandparents and friends who whooped and applauded after each performance.
Madison Kleba, 14, one of 10 finalists in the junior division, wowed the audience with her operatic performance of “La Pastorella Delle.” Kleba, a Campton Hills resident, first performed at the Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles when she was 5. For the last seven years, she has taken voice lessons from voice teacher Solange Sior of Elgin. “I’ve been singing for a long time,” said Kleba, “I live for it.”
Kleba’s mother, Stephanie Kleba, a music therapist at Delnor Hospital in Geneva, said her daughter sings opera, Broadway and classical, and is a song writer. “Madison tried sports and lots of different activities. What every parent wants is to expose their children to many things so they can find their passion, what makes them happy.”
At the auditions, 28 acts competed in the junior division; 10 in the senior division. Acts included singers, dancers, musicians — and even a ventriloquist, 12-year-old Jack Morris of Batavia who performed with his dummy, Slappy.
Sitting on Jack’s knee, Slappy said, “Don’t call me a dummy. We’re supposed to be friends.” Jack, the ventriloquist, responded, “Well, what are you?” Slappy’s retort: “I’m a wooden American. My father was antique furniture.”
After his performance, Jack said, “Do you know how hard it is to say B without moving your lips?”
Jack is now working to add imitations to his act. His father Jim said his son writes 90 percent of his own material. “I edit it for audience appropriateness,” said Jim. Jack has been performing with Slappy for two years. Last year, he performed for an audience of 1,500 at Plano Middle School.
For 29 consecutive years, Larry Rossi and his wife Ellen have organized and presented the Kane County Fair Talent Show. Rossi owns Elgin-based RPM Creative Music, is band director at St. Patrick and music director at Wyndemere. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to do this (talent show),” Rossi said. “I’ve seen some of these kids for five or six years. I’m amazed at how they grow up and improve year to year.”
On to the finals
Finalists now move on to compete at the Kane County Fair on July 16.
In each division at the Kane County Fair competition, first place wins $200; second, $125; and third, $75. All finalist receive $20 per act plus a certificate of recognition. First-place winners go on to compete in the state talent contest in Springfield in January.
Judges for the auditions this year were Lauren Hallberg, the winner of the 2008 Kane County Talent Contest and a voice and piano teacher; Gwyn Downey, who has 25 years of performing experience and teaches piano and bassoon; and Mikyle Gould Jessen, president and founder of Gould Capital Corporation and co-owner of Gould Academy of Dance Arts in Elgin.