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The Brewster Education Foundation, NY’s first non-profit public education foundation, has awarded over $1,000,000 during the past 33 years to benefit the students of the Brewster Central School District through grants, awards and scholarships. With our motto of ‘Excellence in Education’, our goal is to recognize achievement, encourage innovative teaching team approaches, support programs and foster community service.

P.O. Box 320 • Brewster, NY 10509 • 1-845-278-8259
info@bef.org

The third annual Brewster’s Got Talent Competition showcased incredible local talent last night. Presented by the Brewster Education Foundation and hosted by Board member Joe Cavanagh, this showcase represented the best of the best in our Brewster community. With a variety of performances, positive feedback from the judges, and some laughable moments with the host, this night was truly spectacular and the audience soaked up every bit of the talent coming from the stage. The 2017 Brewster’s Got Talent overall winner was Riley Krisch, an outstanding pianist with a lot of potential. He was the winner for his age group K-8th grade. The winner of the high school division was eccentric John Delgado and his passionate modern dancing. For Brewster graduates and older, the winner was Kristen Huttunen who sang a powerful rendition of Simple Man by Shinedown.

The Guest Judges at this event were Vinny Larusso, Pete Pastore, and Carolyn Martin, who all had previous musical experience and a great appreciation for community talent. They were truly blown away by the acts last night. Judge Pete Pastore says, “I thought it was an amazing night. I saw some really talented performers and was very pleased with their acts. Although, it was extremely difficult trying to choose just one person to win, but I was still glad to have been asked to judge.”

Among each age group, there was a breadth of expertise in everything from a cappella singing (the spot-on performance of Hallelujah by Spotlight Arts Inc.) to hip hop dancing (bubbly Jack Riccio dancing to Animals by Maroon 5) to beatboxing (the impressive duo of Wells Middle School students Justin Rodriguez and Armani Aviles). There was the charming Ashley Barry who performed for the first time ever, singing White Horse by Taylor Swift; the animated performance of Good Morning Baltimore by Taylor Byrne; the adorable Emiko Noelle (the youngest of the competition as a second grader) and her performance of When I Grow Up; the earthy Cecilia Guida singing and playing ukulele to Hit the Road Jack; a few compelling harmonica soloists, JFK Assistant Principal John Conroy, Pat the Cat, and Dave from Dave & The Dynamics (whose blues/rock music brought back memories); the sentimental love songs of well-known crooner (and replacement teacher!) Anthony Loiacono and striking community singer Erik Brillon; and heartfelt performances by singers Caitlin Otto, Madeline Majette, Skye Connolly, Victoria Kovaleski, and Autumn Takacs.

The winners themselves left us speechless. Kristen Huttunen’s third year in Brewster’s Got Talent proved to be a success, and her growth as a vocalist has no limit. Last night’s performance of Simple Man showcased her vocal range and dynamic ability as well as emotional connection to the song. High School senior John Delgado was a crowd favorite as another returning performer. His dancing abilities are captivating and sensational along with his rhythm, robotic style, and flexibility. His especially passionate choreography to Chandelier proved he really left his heart on stage. Lastly, multitalented musician Riley Krisch took the prize with his charismatic and moving rendition of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Riley spent many weeks practicing this song, all of which was learned by ear. His personal touch was present in his ability to master every section of this song, from the ballad segment to the operatic passage to the hard rock section. He is an aspiring musician and plans on saving his earnings ($500) to help jump start his possible career as he enters high school. Community members know how dedicated Riley is to his music, and we all have high hopes for him in the future.

During Brewster’s Got Talent there was a 50/50 raffle—of which the winner received over $400—and there were refreshments outside the auditorium. It’s important to note how important the money involved in this competition was; the Brewster Education Foundation uses it in ways that give back to the community such as school funding and scholarship money for students. The overall winner of Brewster’s Got Talent received a $500 check, and the second and third place winners each won $250. Ever since this event was introduced three years ago, it has brought the community together and showcased some of the most talented individuals in Brewster. We are so excited to see what’s in store for next year’s competition. Thanks to all who attended, performed, and contributed to the making of this wonderful event.