Anoka-Hennepin hosts first districtwide middle school talent show

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

Anoka-Hennepin Community Education hosted the first districtwide middle school talent show Feb. 16: “America’s Got Talent, and so do our Middle Schoolers.”

The six middle schools were allowed to bring a maximum of four acts each, so schools held auditions or their own talent shows to determine who would advance to the district show at Roosevelt Middle School in Blaine.

Jackson Middle School, Champlin, brought this year’s winning act: Seventh-grader Dylan Loken danced to “Billie Jean” in the style of Michael Jackson, taking home the largest trophy. Also from Jackson were the Percussionators, Thomas Heimer, Matthew Hritzke, Cole Lindors, Ben Litwin, Andrew Mantini, Shane McIntosh, Ryan Morley, Owen O’Connell, Zac Oldroyd, Griffin Sparke, Daniel Summers and Joseph Tullberg, all eighth-graders; sixth-grade vocalist Keara Kelleher; and eighth-grade vocalist Ranetta Wolobah.

Two of the four acts from Northdale Middle School, Coon Rapids, earned trophies: Seventh-grader Emily Nguyen earned second place for her lyrical dance to “Enter One” by Sol Seppy, and eighth-grader Samira Faraj took third for her rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” Also representing Northdale were cellist Elizabeth Getty and vocalist Lydia Tomandl, both in seventh grade.

Anoka Middle School for the Arts sent Lainey Donoghue, seventh grade; Hailey Shager, seventh grade; Olivia Huskey, eighth grade; and Lorraine Wongbi, eighth grade. All four young ladies sang. Lainey provided her own accompaniment on the ukulele, and Hailey performed an original piece, the fifth song she’s written.

Coon Rapids Middle School students performed three numbers in last week’s show: Sixth-grader Jordan Brandt was one of four acts to cover Adele; sixth-grader Claire Hartung played piano; and seventh- and eighth-grade students Fayza Akeri, Riley Duncan, Dedeh Koenig, Nya Martin and Ayamea Martin danced together.

Three students attending Oak View Middle School in Andover showed off their vocal talent: sixth-grader Halle Brown, seventh-grader Colin Flaherty and eighth-grader Grace Jacobs.

Finally, performing at home at Roosevelt Middle School were four acts: Trista, sixth grade, and David Osendorf, seventh grade, sang their original song, “Fight Back”; Neha Krishnan, eighth grade, performed an Indian cinematic dance; eighth-graders Katrina Trussell and Alexandria Vang duetted to the new “James Bond” theme; and eighth-grader Tialy Yang closed the show with one last Adele song.

Six judges working in District 11 evaluated students on their overall performance, audience response, stage appearance, originality and personality.

Fayza Akeri, Riley Duncan, Dedeh Koenig, Nya Martin and Ayamea Martin, all students at Coon Rapids Middle School, show off their dance moves. Oak View Middle School sixth-grader Halle Brown works the crowd covering Francesca Batestelli’s “Free to Be Me.” Emily Nguyen, a Northdale Middle School seventh-grader, collects the second-place trophy from Roosevelt Middle School Community Education Coordinator Michael Race at the end of the evening for her lyrical dance to “Enter One” by Sol Seppy. One of four young ladies to cover Adele during the talent show, Tialy Yang, an eighth-grader at Roosevelt Middle School, closes the show singing “Someone Like You.” Dylan Loken, a seventh-grader at Jackson Middle School, channels his inner Michael Jackson dancing to “Billie Jean” to win the talent show. Samira Faraj, an eighth-grader at Northdale Middle School, sings Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” at the first Anoka-Hennepin all-district middle school talent show Feb. 16. Faraj came in third place. Photos by Olivia Alveshere Anoka Middle School for the Arts eighth-grade student Lorraine Wongbi sings “Alabaster Box” by Cece Winans.
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Emily Nguyen, a Northdale Middle School seventh-grader, collects the second-place trophy from Roosevelt Middle School Community Education Coordinator Michael Race at the end of the evening for her lyrical dance to “Enter One” by Sol Seppy.

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