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Janesville Senior Center's got talent

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
August 14, 2008
— The Janesville Senior Center has issued a casting call to find variety and novelty acts in Janesville.

Eleven acts have signed up so far for the two-hour show Thursday, Aug. 28, when performers will take center stage during the inaugural Janesville’s Got Talent.


A take-off on the popular TV show, “America’s Got Talent,” the local version’s winner also will be chosen by the public—the audience in attendance—but will walk away with only $25 instead of $1 million. However, the smaller cash grand prize isn’t dampening the enthusiasm of performers.


At a rehearsal Monday, members of the senior center’s The Choristers were rehearsing two numbers they’ll perform under the direction of Helen Graham.


In the first number, a group of men were being wooed by “saloon girl” Joyce Flint as they practiced “Cigarettes, Whiskey & Wild, Wild Women.’’


After practicing the number twice, they moved on to their next act, “Mountain Dew.’’ Chorus members dressed in hillbilly garb sang, stomped their feet and clapped their hands while being accompanied by Virginia Nitz on the piano.


It was obvious why the seniors wanted to be in the show.


“It’s (being around) the people and it’s fun,’’ said Flint, 81, of Janesville, who created her own costume from a black knit top, an old square dance skirt, fish net stockings and heels. Big, bright red flowers—pulled from her Red Hat Society hat—accented her silver hair, necklace choker and flouncy skirt.


Bill Huebner, 79, of Beloit agreed. “This is way out of my nature. I never did anything like this before, but we’ve got a good variety of talent and it’s fun.’’


“This is a lot of work, but it keeps me going. This chorus is like family,” Graham said.


Pat Tobin, programmer at the senior center, came up with the idea to host the talent show.


“We have lots of talent,’’ she said.


Tobin also wanted to involve other people in the community in the show, as a way to promote the senior center. Her concept worked. Participants from 10 to 90 and older will perform a variety of acts from lyrical dance and playing the guitar to storytelling, line dancing, a puppet show, lip syncing to music, comedy skits and other vocal performances.


The half-hour preshow will feature the senior center jazz band. Cookies and bars plus a hot or cold beverage can be purchased during intermission. Proceeds will benefit the center’s Senior Advisory Board, Tobin said.


“The money helps us purchase items not in the senior center budget,’’ she said.


That’s also why Tobin would like to see the talent show become an annual event.


“I’d love to see us raise a couple hundred dollars. The money is great but just getting our news out in the community lets people know what a great resource we are and that there are a lot of active people here.’’


IF YOU GO
What: Janesville’s Got Talent show.
When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28.
Where: Riverview Room of the Janesville Senior Center, 69 S. Water St.
Cost:$1.

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