Spain Park conducts annual talent show

By MICHAEL J. BROOKS

Special to the Reporter

HOOVER – The Spain Park High School choral department sponsored its annual talent show on Feb. 6 and 7.

According to Assistant Principal Josh Britnell, the event is something the students look forward to each spring.

“This is a fundraiser for the choral department and a lot of fun for everyone,” Britnell said.

Choral Music Director Jim Schaeffer explained that the competition was conducted in two segments.

“We had preliminary auditions on Tuesday night,” he said. “We had 15 acts that were chosen from the preliminary round, and the judges selected the top five and the order of their placement for the program during the school day on Wednesday. I recruited three judges from Birmingham and Tuscaloosa who’d had some experience with events like this, and this kept us from having to make the tough decisions!”

Schaeffer said most of the vocalists in the competition were his students, and among the finalists, all nine singers were in one of his choirs.

The Down South Quartet, a “barber shop” style group, won third place honors with their rendition of “If I Can Dream” made popular by the Andrews Sisters. Members of the group are Austin Gothard, Andrew Ritchey, Wesley Whetstone and Nicholas Ritchey.

Junior Ben Hartwiger won second place with his balancing act.

“Ben is amazing,” Schaeffer said. “He showed a lot of coordination balancing a chair on his chin, and then he balanced some 30 feet of PVC pipe. ‘Eye of the Tiger’ was his background music, and our students stood and cheered and took pictures with their cellphones!”

Hartwiger has his own YouTube channel, “Balance Boi,” according to Schaeffer.

Sisters Taura and Taylor Conly won the competition with their rendition of “His Eye is on the Sparrow.”

In addition to the talent acts, attendees enjoyed music by “Rhapsody in Blue,” Spain Park’s 32-member show choir and 15-piece band.

“This is the only school day our students can hear this group,” Schaeffer said. “We competed in Montgomery recently and won ‘Grand Champions’ in our division of 16 groups. ‘Rhapsody’ does singing, dancing and costuming, and I’m very proud of them.”

Schaeffer has taught for eight years and is in his third year at Spain Park.