The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


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November 9, 2023

Behind the Lights


The 6th annual talent show was hosted by StuCo Nov. 19 as an opportunity for students to showcase their talents

+ by Cadie Elder & Makaila Williams

Cell phones waved back and forth as sophomore Heather Jones sang her heart out. She sat on the right side of the stage hovering over the piano. Jones says that is her natural state.

Her performance ended. She got up from behind the piano and raised her hands up in the air forming a heart.

And that was the thing… everyone on stage that night was doing something that he or she loved. Here’s a quick look into some of those who performed in the 6th Annual Talent Show sponsored by Student Council on Nov. 19.

The crowd screamed as the spotlight followed teacher Kiera O’Boyle to the center of the stage.

“I’ve been dancing since I was six,” O’Boyle said. “But it was nerve wracking to perform in front of my students. I was scared I was going to fall.”

It’s no surprise she didn’t fall. O’Boyle’s mother moved to the United States from Ireland and Irish dancing was a tradition she passed on to her daughter. O’Boyle did not always feel like dancing though.

‘“When you’re six, you just don’t want to go to practice, and my teacher wasn’t the nicest,” O’Boyle said.

Eventually her mom got her dancing again. O’Boyle currently performs with a group called Ceili at the Crossroads.

“Dancing is my life,” O’Boyle said. “I perform around the Kansas City area with a couple of girls I’ve grown up with, it’s pretty special for us to share that love and passion.”

They all have full time jobs, but they meet on the weekends and occasionally weeknights.

“I’m actually looking at getting certified to teach dance,” O’Boyle said. “I potentially am going to start a career doing that as well as teaching, maybe part-time with both. We’ll see.”

Allie Marx was almost literally pushed onto the stage of the talent show by her older sister, Maggie.

“I want everybody at school to know that I have a little sister who sings, too; it’s not just me,” Maggie said. “I have confidence in her. I think she’s going to do really well because she’s been practicing a lot and I’ve been helping her out with everything. She’s grown so much in her singing and she’s so much more confident.”

Backstage in the Greg Parker auditorium, the two prepared for the show.

“Maggie, where’d you get that powder from?” sophomore Allie Marx said.

“What? I don’t know what you’re talking about,” her sister, senior Maggie Marx, said, giggling to herself as she continued putting on her makeup.

“We do fight about things,” Allie said. “It’s always about sharing stuff, pretty much.”

“But we’re best friends, not just sisters,” Maggie said. “We may fight, but that’s what sisters do.”

For Allie, singing isn’t a family talent,

“I was actually a really bad singer,” Allie said. “One day, my mom heard me singing in the car and said I wasn’t too bad, so I started voice lessons. I never knew how to project my words but I want to be my own singer and have my own type of style.”

Adam Schnacker’s first talent show performance was sure to send people home laughing. His comedy routine began as a Kermit the Frog impression.

“My friend learned the Kermit the Frog impression because he heard an impression of it by somebody else. So mine is an impression of his impression of somebody else’s impression of Kermit the Frog,” Schnacker said. “I learned it when I was in Italy. I was spending a lot of time with my friend and so he kept making jokes with a Kermit the Frog voice. I started imitating him. ”

Schnacker also sang  Tim Hawkin’s parody of “Friends in Low Places.” His version? “All My Friends Have Hip Replacements”.

“I’m excited and a little nervous,” Schnacker said. “But I’m probably not as nervous as I should be. If I mess up, when I mess up, I can just kind of cover it up because it’s supposed to be goofy and funny anyways so I can just kind of improvise.”

Sam Athey started playing the piano when he was in kindergarten and it stuck with him. He composes his own music and performs regularly at recitals. Athey wants to make it big; hoping to become a film composer.

He wrote the song he played in the talent show.

“It starts out with chimes,” Athey said. “It may be about the day, I’m not really sure though. It has something to do with a cycle.”

Interpreting his music is one thing, but Athey also gave the audience a performance. He blended gestures with his music and told the audience a story of his own. Athey said he doesn’t write music about particular subjects, but hopes his music creates a mood.

From mentoring 5,000 children at her church and singing at an Atlanta Megachurch to singing at the Talent Show, junior Alpha Hill-Spearman also has a passion for singing.

She has been singing since she was five.

“My mother was actually in a famous gospel group, so I have a judge at my house,” Hill-Spearman said.

“I’ll Be There” by Tiffany Evans, the song Alpha performed in the talent show, took her just two days to learn.

“I’m practicing everyday,” Alpha said. “I’ll just sit on YouTube for hours just looking through songs.”

“But I always know,” Alpha said. “This is your thing to do, talent shows because this is what I started my freshman year.”

Alpha draws inspiration from other artists.

“Especially young African American women,“ Hill-Spearman said. “For them to be so strong, it inspires me to think ‘Oh, I can do this.’”

When she is on stage, she proves that she can.

“When I hit that stage, it’s not me anymore. It’s like ‘ALPHA’,” she said. “I think about the audience, I don’t think about myself.”

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