America’s Got Special Talent results in crowd support


Lasirra Hines

Paraeducator Chris Blanton helps out the emcees, seniors Aaron Hoff, Imary Ahorro, Jamia Roberts and Macy Hendricks.

Lasirra Hines , Staff Writer

With the main lights beginning to dim, the spotlights were shining on the walls next to the stage, Eric Eklund walked out, mic in hand, and introduced the show to the now silenced crowd, which was followed by the start of the 1982 Micahel Jackson song “Beat It”.

The Interpersonal Skills class, along with Big Lakes, a center that provides services and programs to individuals with developmental disabilities, held America’s Got Special Talent on Thursday at Rezac Auditorium. The event showcased students who wanted to perform as well as students who don’t always get an opportunity to show their passions. 

The emcees of the show were seniors Imary Ahorro, Macy Hendricks, Aaron Hoff and Jamia Roberts and community member James Willms.  They were the emcees, who cracked many jokes and announced the acts that were performing next as well as being able to get closer with the community members.

“I got to introduce a lot of the acts, as well as got to get closer to many of the people at Big Lakes and many of the kids who I strengthened my relationship with them,” Hoff said.

A few of the acts were singing, such as “Free Fallin” performed by community member Charles Manz and “Blue Spanish Eyes” performed by community member Joann Hammerland. Others were dance acts, including the opening act “Beat It” which was performed by the MHS Interpersonal Skills Class and “Everybody (Rock Your Body)” performed by community member Amy Kells. 

 “I would say some of my favorite acts were “Friends In Low Places,” the one with Emmerson [Murrell, senior] and Tyler [Higgins, senior],” Hoff said. “I really liked the class, the ‘Beat It’, the opening,”

Tyler Higgins performed the country song “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks with senior Emmerson Murrell.

“I’ve known Emmerson for a while so it was just a good opportunity to have a fun time with her,” Higgins said.

The crowd throughout the show was very supportive and kept the energy going. After each act, they cheered and clapped. 

“You know, especially during those times when there’s awkward silence or the mics aren’t working or something, the audience just like goes nuts and they start clapping and it’s like, it’s the best audience in the world,” Eric Eklund, the IPS teacher, said. “They are not critical at all.” 

Eklund was a coordinator and director of the show. His main task this year was working with the emcees, helping them with their small performances in between acts.

“My main test this year was working with emcees so I help them come up with what they were going to do kind of help them to be comfortable with improvisation and having a lot of energy,” Eklund said. “And keeping the audience engaged doing things that, you know, would help to keep the mood of elevated the whole time, making sure that you know they were going out.”

A surprise act ended the show, starring IPS student Dave Sherwin, who sang along with the band Headlight Rivals, a local Manhattan band.

“[Dave] has a passion for acting and singing and things. He loves being on stage. And we also know, Eric Kleiner, who is the lead singer for Headlight RIvals, knew him for a long time and so we just started talking to him,” Eklund said. “I think this is the third year that we’ve had that act about doing something with Dave.”. 

The band was not hesitant in agreeing, according to Eklund.

“When they were approached with helping out with the show, they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, man. That would be awesome. We’d love to do that.’”

Now that the show is over, the next mission for IPS is going to be recruitment. Hoff encourages that any students interested join the class.

“Go for it. It has done wonders for not only me but the students in that class,” Hoff said. “If you are all interested. Our next mission is recruitment so make your face well known and we will look out for you.”