St. Charles has talent
(Left to right) Logan Leah Tauzin won the Division II – 6th grade through 8th grade; Kevell Byrd won the Division I - Kindergarten through 5th grade; Isabelia Carroll won the Division III – 9th grade through 12th grade.
The show, which was in its fourth year, is a production of the St. Charles Parish 4H Club.
Kali Zammit, associate extension agent for 4-H youth and family development, began the show at the request of the larger community.
"It started because Junior League wanted to get the community involved," Zammit said. "It’s a way to get the public involved and to know what 4H is all about and as an avenue to perform."
Although Zammit served as the show’s host, she does not take credit for putting on the show. The 4H Club’s performing arts club was responsible for all aspects of the show.
"I think it went pretty well. It ran really smooth," Zammit said. "It’s a great way for them to develop leadership skills. They are running the whole program and they are definitely getting involved. And sometimes when you put something in their court they have the better responsibility to see it through."
The performers were limited to those in grades kindergarten through 12th. Out of 25 acts that auditioned in front of a private panel, 18 were given the go ahead to perform live in front of an audience.
Participants were broken down into three categories: kindergarten through fifth grade, sixth through eigth grade and seventh through 12th grade.
Kevell Byrd, a fourth grader who attends Luling Elemenatry, won the kindergarten through fifth grade competition by playing Turtle Rock Rag on the piano.
The 10-year-old has been playing the piano since the age of four.
Kevel said she was surprised to have won.
"They had a lot of good dancers and singers. I really enjoyed myself," Kevell said. "I was really surprised. I knew I would probably get at least second place, but since it was my first time I was pretty excited to get first place."
Kevell’s mother, Shantrell Byrd, said her daughter has put a lot of time into learning the instrument.
"She goes to Francis School of Music in Hahnville and she’s been there for over six years, reading and playing different styles of music," Shantrell said. "That was one of her classical pieces she was learning during the season."
Shantrell said she was overjoyed by her daughter’s display of talent.
"I am amazed at her ability to be courageous in a different setting and to go forth and show her gifts and talents and share them with others," she said.
Kevell’s father, Kevin Byrd, said he tries to instill in his daughter every day that she is unique.
"I always tell her in the morning, ‘Remember that you are great, you are not a copy. You are one of a kind.’ She definitely took that and grabbed it. Everything she does she tries to be the best at it. Everything in her life," Kevin said. "It shows through her hard work."
Part of the secret behind Kevell’s success was that not only was she perfomring for the talent show, she was preparing for another performance the day after the show.
"The following day she played at the fall festival at Nicholl’s, so that was one of her pieces that she had been learning throughout the season and every year her music instructor tries to give her more complicated pieces to challenge her," Shantrell said.
Maegen Downey, a 5th grade student at Norco Elementary, sang an acapella version of "The Climb" and came in second in the kindergarten through fifth grade competition.
The winner of the sixth through eighth grade division was 13-year-old J.B. Martin Middle School student Logan Tauzin.
Logan said she was happy coming away with a win after participating in the show the past few years.
"It was my third year at the talent show. I got second place my first year," she said. "All three times I’ve done the talent show I’ve done a song from a musical."
As a member of the talented theatre program at J.B Martin and the River Regions Drama Guild, Logan said she is not sure how many musicals and plays she has been in since she began performing on stage at age five.
Logan performed a dramatic rendering of the song Fine Fine Line from the musical Avenue Q.
Her mother, Natalie Tauzin, said she worked on the piece tirelessly, especially a dramatic scene before the singing began.
"We tried to come up with something to make it more than just standing up and singing a song. So we added the dramatic elements that came before it which I think made special as it was by adding that. It told a story to set up a scene before the song," Natalie said. "The song is about someone who has been rejected and the main line is ‘It’s a fine fine line between love and a waste of time.’ So the way it is set up she is ready to go out and is all dressed up and happy and then she looks at the phone and gets a text and she’s been stood up. All of this is silent - it is no words."
Logan’s win is the second this year for her performance of Fine Fine Line. She also won a Beta Club competition and will be traveling to a regional competition.
"She won on the district level and she is going to be performing it at the state level in May," natalie said. "So it was kind of put together to be used for both things because the timing of it worked out so she could use it for both things."
Logan said she was happy to come in first in the competition considering all of the other acts in her division.
"All the acts were so talented and I think every one who won deserved to win, but I think some of the ones who didn’t win anything deserved to be recognized," she said.
For those who may be thinking about performing in next year’s show or in other ways, Logan said they should get out there and do it.
"If you think that you have a talent, don’t be afraid to show it," she said.
Allie Guidry, a 6th grader at J. B. Mart Middle School, performed for the second time in the competition and sang "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera. She came in second in the sixth through eigth grade division.
In the seventh through 12th grade division, Isabelia Carroll won with a reggae version of Amy Winehouse’s song Valerie.
Caroll said the win was the culmination of many years of hard work.
The Hahnville High School singer has been performing solo as a singer since the seventh grade and is also involved in the talented theater program at HHS.
In addition, Carroll comes from a background of singers. Her grandmother, Rhoda Bailey, was a formerly a jazz singer.
"She was in jazz band herself and she has had quite a few experiences doing gigs and everything else and singing in studios," Carroll said.
Although performing is in her family, Carrol said she is mostly self taught.
"Singing is in my family–my family has definitely influenced me. My grandmother has helped my singing," Carroll said. "Her criticism has definitely helped me develop my talent, but I can’t say she taught me."
Following graduation this year, Carroll is planning on attending the University of New Orleans and studying the performing arts and minoring in jazz studies.
One day she thinks she may try to break into show business professionally, but for now she is happy with winning the local talent show.
"I actually auditioned for American Idol over the summer but I didn’t make it past the first round," she said. "Even if I do suceed in that type of line, I am not even sure that I want to be big yet, even if I had that opportunity. I do want to finish college. That is my first priority."
Carroll said the reason behind performing for her is much more than just putting her talents on display. She has advice for others who may want to succeed as performers.
"I would say the biggest thing is don’t compare yourself. It’s all about having fun. Don’t compare your talent to someone else’s talent," Carroll said. "At the end of the day you have to be yourself and you have to be confident on what you can bring to the table despite what this or that person can do."
Victoria Sheppard, a 9th grader from Hahnville High School, played the piano and sang "When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars. She came in second in the seventh through 12th grade division.
Zammit called the show a success and said it raised over $1,000 that will go towards a 4H Club trip to Disney World.
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