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Depew High School students show off their talents during annual talent show

BY: Metro Source Staff | November 15, 2012

DEPEW - Getting up on a stage to perform may not be for everyone, but for more than 800 Depew High School students who have participated in the annual talent show since it started 10 years ago, it has meant more than just singing and dancing.

For many of the performers, what started as a fun school event ended up teaching them skills they can use the rest of their lives. For 10 years, a group of dedicated high school students have been putting on the annual variety show that usually has the audience laughing at the narrator’s skits and sometimes singing along with the performers.

This year’s show marked the 10th anniversary with a theme of “Let’s Celebrate.” It was held this past Thursday. in the high school auditorium. Students auditioned for the show during a day-long session in October.

“All students get the same support, everyone is pushing one another to do better,” said Kevin Grzybek, a biology and anatomy teacher who is the show’s director.

Yet, just like popular reality talent shows, there are some students who audition who are not ready to be on the stage.

“We sometimes have to tell a child that they are not there yet … we encourage them to be involved in another way like stage crew,” said Grzybek. Many of the students who started with the talent show on stage crew stuck with it to also work on the musical and other productions.

Amy Proctor, a French and ESL teacher in all three Depew schools, is the assistant director.

Working on a live show means everyone has to adjust when something unexpected happens. An incident a few years ago that Grzybek and Proctor can laugh about now was when the grand piano was being rolled into the backstage wings and some piano strings broke. Grzybek recalls he told the master of ceremonies to stall while he ran and got another piano from the chorus room.

“No one in the audience knew anythingwas wrong,” he said.

Christian Hehr, a senior, wowed the audience last year with his KISS tribute band. He and the eight-member band he plays with hoped to have another big number planned this year. This year in addition to being “talent” in the show, he served as the student director managing the money and public relations.

The shows are popular, drawing between 300 and 400 audience members and generating up to $2,000 each year. Over the past 10 years, more than 800 Depew High School students have participated and approximately $20,000 has been raised.

The majority of the proceeds go into the Character Education program at the high school, which pays for various guest speakers and a field trip for juniors to the Niagara Falls airbase to use the drunk driving simulator.

A portion of the proceeds also pays for printing costs of next year’s poster, programs and tickets designed by art teacher Jennifer Hatfield.

Dakota Ward, a senior, co-narrated the talent show last year and hoping to get that role again. Using the show theme, students write the narrator script and the skits that are performed between talent acts. Dakota, who wants to be a broadcaster or work on late- night talk shows, said he has learned over the years what an audience thinks is funny.

Tiffani Bassett has been a solo vocalist in the talent show since she was a freshman.

“It made me step out of my comfort zone,” she said, adding that she was terrified at first but her confidence has grown. She said she learned to work together with other performers as a team.

Jessica Prible, a dancer, said she made some very good friends during the talent show and her confidence in herself grew.

Even the teachers join the fun, as some of the acts are student-teacher acts.

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