By Beth Pahl
Left to right: Vance Beach and Daniel Golden perform at the Homecoming Talent Show in Diversions.
Diversions was packed Monday as the Residence Hall Association showcased its first annual Raider Sports Talent Show. The medley of performances was as lively as the crowd itself as 15 acts battled for four prizes.
The show started off on the right foot as freshman Kenton Chun, a kicker for the football team, wowed the crowd with his magic and comedy act. "Kenton was outstanding. This wasn't the type of deal where you just practice for a week; you could tell he put some serious time into perfecting his act," commented one of the three judges, head football coach Steve Helminiak.
An assortment of song and dance routines followed, most notably a break dancing routine by Cheyenne Swartz, a pole-vaulter for the track team. "She was very talented. It takes a lot of guts to get up on stage and do the things she did," said onlooker James Williams.
Two acts later, Akeem Jackson, a defensive back for the football team, serenaded the sold-out venue in the first part of his routine, singing a song while playing the piano. In the second part of his act, he was joined by teammates Vance Beach and Daniel Golden who rapped and sang a song accompanied by Jackson's dancing. "Akeem was great. I never knew all these athletes had so much talent other than their athletic sides," James Williams said.
Immediately following Jackson's routine was a piano, guitar and singing performance by freshman Tory Snyder, a defensive back for the football team. Snyder, who has 10 years experience playing the piano, three years on guitar, and has already released his first album, blew away the crowd. "I really love performing. I've been up on stage a lot, so I'm very comfortable," Snyder said. Snyder, who last performed at the Miss Klamath County Beauty Pageant, sang "Is This Real," which he wrote for his album "Tory Snyder-Released."
One of the last routines to be performed was an act by Ian Lloyd, a running-back for the football team. Ian, clad in his red martial arts uniform, broke five bricks with his elbow and had a block of ice smashed on his chest with a sledge-hammer. As an encore Lloyd broke two bricks with his fist. "My mom doesn't know I'm doing this," Lloyd said.
As the night wound down, and the judges retired into their chambers to count the votes and decide on the winners, the venue seemed to have transformed into a hopping night club. "It was like nothing I have ever seen here before. This event went way better than I had expected," said James Williams.
The RHA has been working to create opportunities for student involvement, and homecoming week presented the perfect chance to put on a show. "There is no better way to get kids involved and celebrate athletics," said Director of Residential Life Bill Kolacek.
When the judges returned, the verdict was in. The list of winners included Akeem Jackson in fourth place, Cheyenne Swartz in third, Kenton Chun in second, and the grand prize, a brand new Nintendo Wii, went to Tory Snyder.
"The kids were absolutely amazing," said Helminiak. "There was some serious competition out here tonight, and it's obvious that all the contestants were at the top of their game."
Although the entertainment was magical, there was an underlying theme of school spirit that floated around the entire night. "This was a great way for the school to build some school spirit it has been lacking in the past. I have to tip my hat to Bill Kolacek; he did an outstanding job putting this whole thing together," Helminiak commented.
"This went way better than expected. We just sort of put it together, and the turnout was amazing," explained Kolacek. "Next year we are probably going to hold it in the Rogue River room though. Diversions is just way too small for this many people."