Hononegah's Got Talent

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Casey Bohn takes a turn from his host's stool to elegantly rap along with Pachelbel's Canon in D, delighting Mr. Kramper and his fellow hosts Olivia Coleman (L) and Audrey Pigott (R).

Hononegah Community High School students demonstrated their talents, especially musical, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, while family and friends watched from their lawn chairs in the parking lot of the Hononegah Community High School Performing Arts Center. Students presented every number with confidence, whether their voice was soft or strong, or even if they had to start again. Three hosts on stools -  Audrey Pigott, Olivia Coleman, and Casey Bohn - kept up the energy between numbers with banter and jokes, at one point running back and worth to lead the crowd in "the wave." Band director Jeremiah Kramper ran the sound board, reminded the performers to check their microphones, and helped explain some of the jokes. Most of them were not new. 

  • I don't trust stairs - they're always up to something.
  • Q: Dad, can you put the cat out? A: I didn't know it was on fire. ("What does that mean?" asked Olivia.)
  • Q: Hey Dad, do you wanna box for the leftovers? A: No, but I'll wrestle you for them.

Most of the songs weren't new either. Many of the classics performed by these Gen Z teens, who never experienced the 20th century personally, had been popular with their grandparents or even great-grandparents in the mid and late 20th century. If the Hononegah Class of 1997 had had similar eclectic tastes, their talent shows would have included songs by Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.

The program began with Cheyanne Gratz with the song "This is Me" from the 2017 musical The Greatest Showman.

Next was Hannah Morrison with the 2017 "Your Reality" by Doki Doki Literature Club.

Madeline Archer played a flute solo of "Make a Man Out of You" from the animated Disney film Mulan (1998).  

Marissa Sander sang a soulful version of "(I'm Going to Love You) Like I'm Going to Lose You," popularized by Meghan Trainor in 2016.

Maxim Zubik did an acoustic guitar version of "Watch Over You" by hard rock band Alter Bridge (2007).

Olivia Thompson sang the country song "Half of My Hometown," released in April 2021 by Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney. Despite technical problems (her big blue electric guitar wasn't plugged in for the first part of the song), she continued singing and playing, undaunted, throughout.

Olivia Simpson gave a mature vocal performance  of "On My Own" from Les Misérables (1980).

Casey Bohn played "Pachelbel's Canon in D," which was written about 1700, while mostly speaking a rhythmic rap medley from the lyrics of hip hop artist Nicki Minaj, whose debut album was released in 2010, more than 300 years later. The contrast was striking between baroque and rap, though Bohn was restrained in both volume and content, with a reassuring style more resembling rapid-fire talking blues. Lyrics typically associated with Johann Pachelbel (1683-1706) include "Magnificat anima mea Dominum," "So ist denn dies der Tag," "Lobet den Herrn in seinem Heiligtum," "So ist denn nur die Treu," "In Gott ist unser Zuversicht" and "Nun danket alle Gott." In contrast, Bohn's lyrics included "Boy named Troy used to live in Detroit, Making big money, he was gettin' some coins," "He's always in the air, but he never flies coach." and "Yeah" (pause) "Yeah," from sanitized versions of Minaj's "Anaconda" and "Super Bass."

Finley Howell and Eleanor Lefavour-Backman presented a comic dance performance to a variety of musical clips, including "Oops!... I Did It Again" (2000) and "Berries and Cream."

Jaden Lundstrom gave a sober vocal performance of "Imagine" by John Lennon (1971).

Wolfgang Vergara played a solo piano version of the most challenging progressive rock song of the Seventies: Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" (1975). Vergara began with one hand but, being human, had to max out at two. In concert, Queen itself had to depend on prerecorded music to pull off a live performance. Afterwards, he was named the winner of the contest.

Kelly Hernandez performed a sweet version of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love" (1961) and sang only more confidently when she had to start again after the accompaniment stopped. Mr. Kramper said the music player was  stuck "thinking."

Host Olivia Coleman concluded the program with her multiple" best friends" Megan, Trinity, Leo, and the "other Olivia." They presented an acapella "animatronic" comedy/vocal/air guitar/beat boxing/dance performance  which  they called "Five Nights of Hono." Segments included "I Feel Good" (1965), "Funkytown" (1979), one or two almost unrecognizable heavy metal songs (a genre rarely associated with acapella), and an elaborately-choreographed curtain call.

The charity event was sponsored by Tri-M Honor Music Society, Hononegah Student Council, and Key Club. Admission was a donation of non-perishable food. The audience voted for the best act by putting money into the corresponding pink jug (for charity). Band director Jeremiah Kramper says they try to do similar events a couple of times a year. The event raised over $274 for charity and filled a shopping cart with food to donate to local food pantries. 

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