A hearty well done to the Pauls Valley Arts Council for its staging of the Valley Idol Talent Competition Showcase last Friday evening at the Pauls Valley High School auditorium.

With hosts Vickie Rennie and Candace Gibson keeping the evening lively, fun and fast paced, the 19 contestants along with two songs from last year’s winner, Ms. Tommie Etta Sampson, entertained the more than 330 fans in attendance.

This year, and for the first time, there were two divisions, youth and adult, and awards were given for first, second and third in each grouping.

The first prize winners will receive four hours of free recording time from Pratt Studios, which will include vocal tracking, editing, mixing and mastering. They will also receive one master CD with graphics. In addition, the first place winners in each division will perform at the McSwain Theatre in Ada, Oklahoma and then all three winners in both divisions will perform at the 4th of July celebrations at Wacker Park this summer.

Looking back on this very special spring evening, what do Gunner Donham, Parker Smith, Dylan Black, Sara Chapman, TaNiesha Ramsey, Melody Allee, Brittany Stokes, Rodney Wright, Aleah Howard, Molly Herrod, Barbie Christian, Bill Kirtley, Candace Downey, Samantha Robb, Vondie Harding, Meresa Owens, Riley Reed, Amber Fisher and Coleton Atwell all have in common? They are blessed with a very special gift, the ability to entertain.

Congratulations to each of you, you all are winners. Keep up the good work and hopefully we will see you back next year.

It is getting to be that time of the year when plays and musicals are coming out of their “test” runs, done with the editing, tweaking and restaging through preview performances and jumping head first into that great beyond that is opening night.

I have always wanted to live and work in New York during the first five months of the year or its final three months as that is when theater must be at it finest. For that is when all the months and sometimes years of preparation come to fruition and the curtains go up and the critics descend.

It seems that more shows open in the Spring these days so that they are fresh in the minds of the voting members of the Tony Awards, given annually for outstanding achievement in Broadway theatre and presented by the American Theater Wing. The 2010 awards telecast is in June, so follow this column for the latest “Tony buzz.”

Today is not only the celebration of Easter, but also my Mom’s 87th birthday.

She gave me so many wonderful gifts, the greatest of which was my love of the arts, especially the theater. As you may remember, she has a college degree in drama so I guess it was met to be that I follow suit.

I am just sorry that she could not have been here to see her grandson carry on her legacy during Valley Idol, she would have been teary eyed for sure. Happy Birthday, Mare.

And a very Happy Easter to you all, in our town.  TAS

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