Madison’s Got a Variety of Talent

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By Tia Lynn Ivey managin editor

Madison’s Got Talent, the annual spring fundraiser for the Steffen Thomas Museum of Art (STMA), brought in over $7000 this year on March 5 to benefit the museum’s Art$mart Program for kids. The performer who raised the most money in the online JibJab video competition was Dona Franks, bringing in $500.   “If you attended, I thank you!  If you helped spread the word, I thank you!  If you voted, I thank you!  If you helped in any way I thank you!” said Karen Strelecki, director of the STMA. “And if you missed it I am truly sorry because it was TERRIFIC!

The house was filled to overflowing as the show opened and closed with some amazing local talents.” Madison’s Got Talent is a 1970s-style variety show, which featured a myriad of local talent. There was singing, dancing, music, comedy, and even magic. Tickets sold for $40 each. Jeffrey Wells, Metropolitan Opera singer and Artistic Director of Oconee Performing Arts Society, headlined the event and performed his rendition of “Without a Song.” Erin Garrett hosted as her alter-ego Carol Burnedout, a character spoofing the great Carol Burnett. David Shytle performed an Andy Griffith routine, entitled “What is Was, Was Football.” STMA Director Karen Strelecki and Claudia Davis performed a hip-hop routine set to Macklemore’s hit, “Thrift Shop.” Jerry Skidmore performed his own original comedy stand-up material. Dona Franks sang Peggy Lee’s song, “Fever!”

Savannah Webb sang Etta James’ classic hit, “At Last.” Webb’s chilling rendition won her a talent show in Oconee County. Connie Miracle’s Line Dancers performed a “kickin’ routine” to “Old Bones” by George Burns. The Mood Makers, a three-piece bluegrass band comprised of Joan and Pete Ekstrom and Randy Moody, also hit the stage. Robb Watts joined forces with Terry and Justin Kennedy to form a three-piece electric band. Tom Duff, a local magician, performed “amazing tricks” at the event. Viv Martinez and Reggie Gacad from Contact DanceFX of Athens danced “a fun and cheeky salsa number” to Azafata by Johnny Vazques and choreographed by Natalie Cox. Jennifer Adams and Christopher Weaver performed a jazzy foxtrot to Business of Love by Domino, choreographed by Jennifer Adams. Strelecki was grateful to all the local talent that participated in the event to make the evening such a hit.

“A huge thanks goes out to all of those super talented performers:  Jeffrey Wells, Jennifer Adams and Christopher Weaver, Jeremy Skidmore, Connie Miracle, Linda Sky, Carla Hayes, Theresa Fox, Dona Franks, Tom Duff, Viv Martinez and Reggie Gaccad, David Shytle, Rob Watts, Justin & Terry Kennedy and my hip hoppin’ homey Claudia Davis!” said Strelecki. “Of course a big ol’ hug of thanks goes to Erin Garrett AKA Carol Burned-out, our hilarious hostess with kudos and commendations to the script-writer for Erin’s intros, yes, the amazing Claudia Davis, who also donated tons of beautiful decor for the buffet and that incredible floral arrangement from Le Petite Jardin. We wouldn’t have had music, lights or great graphics and sound effects if it hadn’t been for the expert abilities of Ernest and Linda Rogers of Rogers Entertainment. Thanks guys, y’all made the show extra special!” said Strelecki. “And of course thank you so much to the behind the scenes and sometimes way out in front doing all kinds of important things:  Lisa & Chuck Conner, Anne Gilleland, Wilson and Patricia DuBose, Cathy & Steve Whitcomb, Preston Small Kate Roberts, Louise Lauderdale, Pamala Tomany, Ashley Meyers, Sadie Carter, Amy Smoler and Ken her very helpful hubby!” Strelecki was pleased with not only the talent and organizers, but the caters and the sponsors for Madison’s Got Talent. “The food was great!  Thanks so much to The Caboose and my good friend Mollie Lesnikowski as well as to Subway of Madison and Mike Tomany!” said Strelecki. “Our awesome gratitude-deserving sponsors were Madison Studios, the Morgan County Citizen, Smith Communications and Whidby jewelers who donated that gorgeous $1,200 diamond pendant won by Nate Alexander.”

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