Local youths show off singing, dancing routines, talents

Managing Editor
The crowd and other participants at the 2013 Summer Moon Festival’s Youth Talent Show spurred on the acts and made them feel really welcomed, one of the returning performer says.
Ten acts, comprised of 15 youths aged 8 through 18, participated in the show on Saturday afternoon before a crowd of approximately 150 people gathered in the Festival Tent.
“I really liked the fact that most people were cheering you on this time — the crowd and the other competitors,” said 12-year-old Jenna Dodds, who sang “Our Song” by Taylor Swift with her best friend Elora Freistuhler.
The two girls, who participate in school band and love to sing, said they have been rehearsing the Taylor Swift song for the past two weeks.
“Performing and getting ready to perform was a lot of hard work, but it was a lot of fun,” 12-year-old Elora said.
While Elora suggested the song for the duo, the girls decided to participate in the show long before that.
“We decided to do this about a year ago that is when we first thought about it,” said Jessica, who performed last year. “When we were done, I thought it was really worth all the work we put into it.”
For Riley Huelseman, the choice of the song she sang came down to one she and her mother love. She sang “Only Hope” by Mandy Moore. “I’ve known this song for a long time because my mom loves it and she introduced it to me,” Riley, 11, said. “I then saw the movie and I really loved how she sang it.”
Saturday’s talent show was the second show for the singer, who earlier this year performed at a school talent show. She said she also often sings for her friends.
Riley started singing approximately four years ago.
“I really like singing, singing at talent shows and singing for people and I like introducing people to new songs but many of them already know the songs I sing,” Riley said.
She still gets nervous when she first gets on stage, but those nerves subside quickly when she has the microphone in hand.
“My heart starts pounding when I first get on stage, but once I start singing I know I will be fine,” Riley said. “I was really happy and excited when I walked off the stage, but I was still really shaky.”
Seven acts sang during the event and three acts danced. Along with Jessica, Elora and Riley, a foursome comprised of Taylor and Madison Schneider, Taryn Meyer and Corrin Wilder sang and played cups. They were inspired by the movie, “Pitch Perfect.”
Other singers included 8-year-old Landon Brandt, 16-year-old Shelby Martell, 10-year-old Jordan Nuss and 17-year-old Lindsay Seiberling.
The event was sponsored by the Wapakoneta Area Chamber of Commerce and the Wapakoneta Noon Optimists.
Four girls danced including Gina Place and the sister act of Amanda and Ashlyn Steinke.
Miss Summer Moon 2013 Jocelyn Campbell reprised her performance from Wednesday’s pageant.
Amanda, 13, and Ashlyn, 10, who have been participating in dance for 11 and 8 years, respectively, were encouraged by their neighbor, Paul Regula, to dance during this year’s competition.
“This was awesome,” Ashlyn said of their dancing and tumbling performance.
The two girls choreographed their show themselves.
“I like dance because you can express yourself,” Amanda, who performed with a broken toe, said.
“I like being on stage,” Ashlyn said.
Emcee Josh Little teased the two that their older brother, Alec, was going to to join them. They gave a petulant smile.
“They just live to dance and tumble,” their mother, Barbie, said. “They are upside down more than they are right-side up.”
For Lindsay, who is a senior attending Elida High School, the talent show proved to be a great way to become active in her new hometown.
She is the daughter of the new pastor at First United Methodist Church and recently moved to Wapakoneta.
“It was not something new to me because I am involved in choir and musical arts, performing arts and musical theater at school,” said Lindsay, who previously participated in the Elida High School talent show and finished third there. “I just had the normal nervousness you get.
“The best way to calm down is just to get the music started and start singing,” she said. “The crowd and everybody in Wapakoneta has been very receptive. It is nice to have everybody say, ‘Hi.’”
A woman in the church encouraged Lindsay to participate. She picked up the guitar two years ago when her mother was in the hospital. She has been singing for 12 years and was classically trained for four years.
“I like to share the message of the music that you are performing,” said Lindsay, who performed an Avril Lavigne song. “It is just fun to express yourself.”