By Grace Apostol
The organization United Way of Kent County held a fundraising event for their 24 partnering agencies and nonprofits in order to raise money for each.
The talent show event, titled “Kent’s Got Talent”, started at 6 p.m. on Nov. 10, at the Garfield Center for the Arts located in downtown Chestertown, Md. The event held a dinner for guests who paid a dinner ticket fee, and complimentary wine for those sitting in the balcony with a general admission ticket.
Amanda Parks, Vice President, Fundraising Chair, and Board member for United Way of Kent County opened the fundraiser, welcoming all participants, as well as introducing what the organization she is a part of does.
“When I joined the board back this January, I learned that many people are familiar with the name United Way, but aren’t aware of what we do as a nonprofit organization,” Parks said. “The United Way of Kent County allocates grants to local partner agencies that serve Kent County residents in the pillars of health, education, and financial stability through individual donations and corporate contributions.”
According to Parks, several different organizations from the Eastern Shore aided in helping the event come together. This includes Lockbriar Farms for their ice cream treats, the Garfield for allowing the non-profit to utilize their venue, as well as Watermen’s Wife for the rockfish included in the dinner.
Mark Mumford, resident of Kent County, was introduced by Parks, who was the host for the evening. Mumford explained that the top 10 contestants voted for online would be performing that evening, and that the People’s Choice Award would be given to whomever received the most votes, each costing a dollar in order to aid in the fundraising.
There would also be a Judge’s award, awarded by the three judges in attendance that night, Co-Founder of non-profit Minary’s Dream Alliance Doncella Wilson, Kent School Teacher Jim Landskroener, and McGlynn’s Cottage Pies owner Melissa McGlynn.
The first contestant was fourth grader Cece Bagshaw, who performed “Rolling in the Deep,” by singer-songwriter Adele. According to the “Kent’s Got Talent” website, Bagshaw “has a love of theater, has performed in Churchill Theater’s recent production of Matilda, and her (current) dream role is Juliet from the Broadway show ‘& Juliet.’”
After each performance, each judge gave feedback to the constants. Once Bagshaw completed her song, the judges sang her praises.
“Cece, that was just amazing,” Landskroener said. “You are now the greatest person I think I know.”
Following Bagshaw was Justinian Dispenza, who utilized fruit connected to electricity in order to perform an original song.
“You definitely get the imaginative award for the night,” McGlynn said.
After Dispenza was singer and songwriter Mark T. Einstein, who performed an original song about Rock Hall, Md. During the chorus, the audience was encouraged to participate and wave around white handkerchiefs that advertised the town.
9-year-old Karter Greene followed Einstein with a solo rendition of Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There” followed by a drum solo of “YMCA” by The Village People.
“You are a rockstar,” said McGlynn.
Another young singer was up next. Clover King took to the stage to sing “Colors of the Wind” from the movie “Pocahontas.” According to the fundraisers website, “Clover is looking forward to this exciting opportunity to participating in Kent’s Got Talent! She loves helping to raise money for a worthy cause.”
Changing up the talent lineup, line dancer Minnie Maloney took to the stage with two other dancers. She performed a line dance rendition in cowboy boots, with her backup dancers adorned in purple tutus.
“I was missing out on line dancing, and I think the audience too,” Wilson said. “Thank you so much for a fun performance.”
Singer-songwriter Ashton Mooday sang an original ballad regarding a past relationship for the audience gathered in Garfield. According to the contestant site, Mooday started songwriting when she was 11 years old.
Following Mooday was another singer, 12 year old Carly Mourlas, who belted out a rendition of “Our Song” by pop-country singer Taylor Swift.
“I suspect there are going to be a lot of stages in your future,” Landskroener said, following Mourlas performance.
Washington College’s own senior music major Sarah Poirier was also in the top 10 and performed a Bach piece on her cello. According to the fundraising site, Poirier has over a decade of cello experience, and completed her Senior Capstone Experience at the College the day after Kent’s Got Talent, Nov. 11 at Gibson’s Center of the Arts.
Rounding out the night was country singer and songwriter Nicholas Ray. With a large crowd there to cheer him on, Ray sang an original piece, and like the other contestants, received feedback from judges.
“Thank you for a beautiful performance,” Wilson said. “I love when an original song sounds like you’ve heard them before.”
After some brief convening and total votes added up by judges, all 10 contestants took to the stage to hear who won the two awards of the evening.
The People’s Choice Award went to Cece Bagshaw, who received the most votes and raised the most money for the fundraiser.
The Judge’s Choice Award was announced and given to Carly Mourlas for her performance of “Our Song”.
Both young girls received a trophy and a prize of $160 of “Chestertown Cash” which can be used at select stores in Chestertown.
Photo Caption: Performers of the fundraising event rocked out on stage
Photo courtesy of Johnnie Johnson
Photo by Grace Apostol
Photo by Grace Apostol
Photo courtesy of Johnnie Johnson