Whidbey Has Talent show allows students to shine

Whidbey Has Talent and isn’t afraid to show it. For a third year, Oak Harbor’s Whidbey Playhouse organized the talent competition that features students from kindergarten to 12th grade from Whidbey Island schools demonstrating their most interesting talents.

Students sang, performed magic tricks, demonstrated their musical talent with instruments and more.

“It was a really successful year,” board president Allenda Jenkins said. She was pleased to see students from previous years had been practicing.

Music performances included songs such as “Mamma Mia,” a rendition from the musical “Hamilton,” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade.”

One student, Grant Steller, performed an original song on the piano, Jenkins said. He placed third in the junior division.

Valerie Matheny, director of Whidbey Has Talent, said her favorite part of the event was the camaraderie between the kids in the “green room,” also known as the waiting or dressing room.

“…Even though it was a competition, they were so supportive of each other and that says a lot about who they are as people, but also as performers and competitors,” she said in an email. “I would work with all of those kids again in a heartbeat.”

The event went off without a hitch, Remich said, due to the volunteers, staff and board members working together to run the show.

There were 40 students who auditioned and 37 who competed in the March 17 production.

The playhouse sold several hundred tickets and packed the seats, Remich said, with full crowds for all three shows.

This was the first year the competition was held at the playhouse rather than Oak Harbor High School, and Jenkins said she felt like that worked well.

“Everybody left happy, everybody left inspired,” Jenkins said. “People left amazed at what Oak Harbor can do, the talent that walks amongst us.”

The winners:

Presentation Division (Grades K-5)

People’s Choice: Remmy Nuqui and Charlie Montoya

First: Grace Zhao

Second: Danika Kloewer

Third: Roland Garrett

Junior Division (Grades 6-8)

People’s Choice: David Valencia

First: Maggie Garrett, Laurianna Newcomb, Ariel Zanin andElizabeth Hauter

Second: Brynn Schmid

Third: Grant Steller

Senior Division (Grades 9-12)

People’s Choice: Gabby Eaton & Chris Robertson

First: Sadie Lohmann

Second: Genevieve Bress

Third: Keelie Partridge