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The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

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School tradition returns to the stage

Bowie’s Got Talent makes a comeback with performances from uniquely gifted students
Isabella Verette
CELEBRATION STATION: Senior Finnegan Alexander stands center stage, with flowers, balloons, and a sash, after being named the winner of Bowie’s Got Talent. Alexander performed a rendition of My Way by Frank Sinatra.

Gazing down on the audience stretched before them, the spotlight brightens on the performers’ faces.

On Saturday, March 30, the Student Council and the fine arts programs sponsored Bowie’s Got Talent (BGT), a collection of acts performed by Bowie students. Previously called Bowie Idol, the last time the talent show was held in person was in 2019.

“It was one of those cultural moments that everybody loved,” Student Council sponsor Alejandro Garcia said. “And since it’s been five years since we’ve had it in person, students don’t know that yet, so I hope this year is the beginning of building love for this event back into Bowie students.”

For its return, the talent show’s name has changed to Bowie’s Got Talent to encompass the variety of acts that can be performed, and the popularity that the television show experiences. After an attempt at rekindling the talent show last year didn’t succeed, Garcia credited advertising throughout the school as a help to this years efforts.

“Student Council members also were the ones who were like ‘We want to bring this back, this is our tradition’,” Student Council President and BGT host Riley Harris said. “So, we proposed the idea and got it up and running.”

Along with Student Council, fine arts programs including choir, theater, and orchestra all participated in assembling the event.

“Each organization sponsored a group to participate, and so we had representation from all programs,” Choir teacher Randall Cantu said. “Students from each program sit on the panel of judges and selected the acts. They were involved in selecting the acts for the show, and everything with preparing the show.”

To appear in the final performance, Bowie students had to audition with their acts in front of a judging panel. From the applicants, 15 acts were chosen to showcase on the Bowie stage.

I feel like this project was a meaningful way of contributing to students and staff developing a sense of belonging.

— Randall Cantu, Choir Teacher

“It was definitely a hard thing to do as they’re all my peers,” Harris said. “But most of them that stood out were the ones that made it through. Everyone did a fantastic job, but we only had enough time for an hour and a half show.”

The audition process was not only stressful for the judges, but according to some people who tried out, the preparation and anticipation around the tryout was high.

“I didn’t have a lot of practice,” BGT winner Finnegan Alexander said. “I did not know my words to the song all the way. It was a lot of hoping and a little bit of worrying. Just getting ready to give it my all.”

Student Council member Lucas Burcham was alongside Harris as host, while fellow StuCo president Charlotte Hill handled backstage matters.

“All the judges; teachers, choir directors, and student council presidents, scored auditioners based on skill and entertainment value,” Garcia said. “We looked at the people who had the top scores as the people we wanted to be in the show.”

After the audition process, the final planning steps were carried out. A rehearsal was completed with technicians from theater running light and sound cues for transitions along with participants getting a short run through with the hosts.

“It was really a team effort,” Cantu said. “Everybody had their own little niche and every program and teacher was responsible for different components of the project. What I really liked about it was that it wasn’t run by one individual.”

On its first and final night, Bowie’s Got Talent drew in students and families to fill the auditorium seats. Hundreds of people sat in rapture of the singing, beat-boxing, orchestrational number playing acts.

READY TO ROCK AND ROLL: The Gray Area band auditions for Bowie Idol with their set list which they have used for several gigs. The band consists of five senior boys. (Alex Edwards)

“They get a chance to perform in front of maybe the biggest audience of their life, and it could be something that sparks a love of performance for them,” Garcia said. “It could be them overcoming their fear to perform in front of people. Could be just to showcase what talent they have. And I think it’s just so cool to be able to provide an opportunity to allow them to do those things.”

After every act had made their route across the decorated stage, a separate set of judges from the audition trials discussed the different talents and chose five to be considered in the running for BGT winner.

“A lot of the judges were either past Student Council presidents or people who had been in the show before and won or were really popular,” Harris said.

After five acts were selected, the show turned interactive as audience members voted for which of the five should be crowned winner through an online poll. After a brief hiatus of bar code scanning, the winner was revealed to be none other than Finn Alexander with his performance of My Way by Frank Sinatra.

“I went into my audition thinking I probably won’t make it any further because I wasn’t memorized yet,” Alexander said. “I thought, ‘I’m one of a bunch of vocalists here, it would be a big surprise if I got anywhere further than the instrumental groups that are winning state.’ Winning was just fascinating for me, I really did not expect that. That is not modesty. That is just surprised.”

A standing ovation was delivered, as Student Council members fired confetti cannons around Alexander.

I hope this year is the beginning of building love for this event back into Bowie students

— Alejandro Garcia, Student Council Sponsor

“The audience was very receptive,” Alexander said. “I was very excited just having heard them for the period of time that I was backstage listening. I had more excitement than nervousness because of how kind they were to all of the acts. Everyone was cheering, and I heard a ‘marry me’ at one point.”

This sense of community surrounding watching their peers perform is the point that planners and school staff aim to build with Bowie’s Got Talent, now and in future reproductions.

“We’re giving students an opportunity to express themselves,” Cantu said. “It gives us an opportunity to bring people together from different parts of the campus that don’t necessarily come together, which builds community. I feel like this project was a meaningful way of contributing to students and staff developing a sense of belonging.”

The final product of Bowie’s Got Talent will certainly be a milestone of the 2023-3034 school year, as students came out of their shells to deliver their message through what they love most.

“It’s the idea that the arts can be celebrated in a way with a little bit of healthy and friendly competition where everybody gets recognized and appreciated,” Alexander said.

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