At the Logan County Fair
Talent reigned and the night
was filled with magic
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Oh, what a night July 30 was,
as a whirlwind of talent performed on the center stage of the Logan
County Fairgrounds. The Logan County Fair junior and senior talent
contest had begun.
Kevin Franz was the host of the evening. Franz
began by introducing the three judges of the event: Josh Masterman,
Kingsley Keys and Martha McBride. All three judges had plenty of
experience in the field of music entertainment, and tonight they
would need all of that experience when it came time to deciding the
evening's contest winners.
The evening was not
going to be just any night, as 11 acts in the junior division and
seven in the senior division would compete and provide the Logan
County Fair audience with a magical evening of song and dance.
The ages in the
junior division ranged from 6 to 13 years, and although the talent
was young, those performing demonstrated a wide array of skill and
provided their fans with beautiful, zestful songs and smooth dance
Kaylie Honkala, a
13-year-old performer from Ashland, started the evening off with a
rousing country song. Trystan Anderson, 6 years old, from Lincoln,
followed by singing Lee Greenwood's "God Bless The U.S.A." Wearing a
red, white and blue dress Trystan certainly charmed her way into the
audience's heart. A dance duet, "Kung Fu Fighting," by Annie Sheley
and Jaci Gandenberger, followed as the clogging duo high-stepped
their way around the stage. Then came Audrey Maske with "I Wanna Be
A Cowboy Sweetheart." She had a guitar accompaniment and finished
the song with yodeling. Kayla Billlington followed with a dance
Taylor Ehmen dazzled
the audience with a combination of dancing and baton twirling. At
one point she was twirling two batons at once. Katie Gosda, 11 years
old, sang a second rendition of "God Bless the U.S.A." This song
seemed to be very popular among the junior contestants. Kayla Buss
and Kaylyn Engelhardt choreographed an exciting dance number.
Chrissy Barrett, 10 years old, from Hammond, sang, as did Emily
Reimers from Lincoln. Maggie Buss and Holly Klockenga choreographed
a dance song that they performed. The junior division ended with
each act providing plenty of entertainment and enjoyable listening
for the audience.
The senior division
had seven acts competing. Justin Thompson began by performing a very
athletic dance number. Thompson, 15 years old, was agile and
energetic in his performance. Megan Butler, 19, from Macomb and
Western Illinois University, followed by dancing to the song "On
Broadway." Michelle Kaesebier sang Shania Twain's song "From This
Moment." Michelle is 18 years old and a veteran at the Logan County
Fair talent show. She said that she learned to sing because of her
father and his karaoke machine. Elizabeth Ward provided another
dance number for the audience. Kelsey Ney and Wes Tucker danced a
fun-filled version of the song "Love Is Strange." Elizabeth Pugh, a
15-year-old from Mattoon, sang the song "When You Say Nothing At
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competition ended with Brande Montgomery and Kirsten Gandenberger
from Lincoln dueling it out in a great dance rendition of "Dueling
Banjos." Brande and Kirsten learned to dance at Audra's Dance Studio
and have been partners for many years. The dance at the fair will be
one of their last performances together, as both are leaving for
different colleges in a few weeks.
As the senior
performers ended their competition, it was time for the judges to
decide the winners in the evening's talent contest. The judges had a
very difficult job ahead of them because all of the contestants in
both divisions were talented. Judges consider appearance, stage
presence, audience reaction and the performance of the contestants
themselves in making their decision.
Josh Masterman, one
of the three judges, said that in the end it usually comes down to
instinct and that it is always good to have three judges. The fact
that the three judges all have experience in music also is a big
help, but the decision this evening would not be easy.
People in the
audience all had their individual favorite. All of the performers
seemed to be favorites. Who would it be? The performers had put
their hearts and soul into their acts, and they had given their all
to the audience. Now, as they came out on stage to await the judge's
decision, the audience wanted the best for each of them.
Finally the time had
come, the announcement was at hand. Taylor Ehmen, the baton-twirling
young dancer who twirled two batons while she danced her heart out,
won the junior division, and Brande and Kirsten, the dance team that
was dancing together for their last season, won the senior division.
As the prizes were
handed out and the competition ended, all of the performers gathered
around the stage, the three winners had their picture taken, and
members of all of their families came to congratulate them.
There will be other contests, and these
talented performers will have many more starry nights to sing and
dance their way into the hearts of their audiences. But Wednesday
night they performed their magic for fans at the Logan County Fair,
and oh, what a night it was!
[Pictures by Bob Frank]