The annual April Foolies Charity Talent Show once again took the stage Saturday, as performers from both the community and Blount County area high schools convened at the Clayton Center for the Arts. Over the course of the night, performers from Alcoa High School, Maryville High School, Heritage High School, Clayton-Bradley Academy and William Blount High School competed in an effort to raise the most donated money and be crowned the victor.
By night’s end, the Clayton-Bradley Singers had collected the most donation money and were named the April Foolies winners, but not before a night of musical and theatrical showcasing from the community’s young and old performers.
Here’s the rundown:
Roger Murphy MC: Largely running the show for the night, local personality Roger Murphy served as master of ceremonies for the April Foolies event, sharing humorous anecdotes with the crowd as he introduced talent after ensuing talent to the stage. Whether revealing his frustration with non-stick frying pans or sharing memories of his snuff-using “Aunt Ruby,” Murphy made sure of the audience’s entertainment as each new act prepared their performance.
Alcoa High School Jazz Band: Led by director of bands Bryant Adler, the Alcoa High School Jazz ensemble performed the Wild Cherry classic “Play That Funky Music” to start off the night’s festivities. With impressive solo performances from Sean Simon and Matt Gerloff, the crowd’s expectations were set high by the sole instrumental performance of the night.
Maryville High School: Delivering perhaps the most impressive performance of the night, Robby Clemmons and Alex Irwin flawlessly delivered the duet “Lily’s Eyes” from the classic Broadway musical “The Secret Garden.” Starring in Maryville High School’s production of “The Secret Garden” this past February, Irwin and Clemmons’ practice made itself evident as they awed the audience with their polished and well rehearsed voices.
Heritage High School: In a series of confusing and amusing popular music references, Heritage High students Liberty Denu, Katelyn Engelberger, Ciara Humphry, Blake Shepard and Kaylee Roberson gave a high-energy onslaught of dance and song to the Foolie’s crowd. Described by Murphy as an act with “too much caffeine,” the excitement from the students was easy to note and clearly hard to contain.
Headliner Sarah Pirkle: A local songwriter, radio host and music teacher, Sarah Pirkle’s bluegrass savvy was made evident on Saturday night as she shared three original tunes to the sound of her acoustic guitar. With a story attached to each song, Pirkle revealed to the crowd her own life’s experiences relating to love, war and country living.
Special guest The Gatecrashers: Comprised of members from The Gate, the audience was treated to a choral performance of “This is My Wish.” Led by Shellie Vance and Elizabeth Harville, The Gatecrashers received a standing ovation from the crowd following the performance.
Clayton-Bradley Academy Singers: Mixing elements of ukulele playing and songs from popular Broadway hits, the students from Clayton-Bradley delivered a solid performance, taking the audience on a musical tour as pieces from “The Lion King” and “Les Miserables” were performed for all to hear.
William Blount High School, The Gov-nahs: Dressed as high school stereotypes and driving a green, paper car, several William Blount students gave a parody performance of the Meghan Trainor pop hit “All About That Bass.” With a video montage of William Blount High School life on screen behind them, the students attempted to showcase life at the high school in the most ridiculous way possible.
Headliner The Backseat Delilahs: Closing out the night’s festivities, this local band performed folksy covers of “Pontoon” by Little Big Town, “Royals” by Lorde as well as “Wagon Wheel,” by Pat Secor (Old Crow Medicine Show) and Bob Dylan. Comprised of seven members from all walks of life, the band’s chemistry was evident in their playing, with mandolinist Mark White receiving particular adulation from the crowd for his skilled picking prowess.
Proceeds of April Foolies went to benefit nonprofit organizations The Gate and New Hope-Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center to help individuals with special needs and victims of child abuse.
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