In keeping with a legacy of national programs designed to identify and support youth, the Theta Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi held its local Talent Hunt recently at the Latino Cultural Center in Deep Ellum.
In a full program featuring 13 contestants and emceed by former DISD School Board President Dr. Lew Blackburn; attendees were entertained by and treated to wonderful, melodious sounds from piano and violin solos, two dance performances and three visual artists who displayed and meticulously described their artwork.
The original idea for the Talent Hunt was conceived in 1945 and the first District program was held April 19, 1946. The need for such a program was born out of the unequal opportunity afforded to some American youth to develop and give full expression to their talents, according to chapter members who said chapters across the world are proud to continue the tradition of this legacy program to this day.
The original statement of the Talent Hunt idea emphasized, “Creative and outstanding capacities in any honorable activity should be eligible for consideration.”
During public presentations, all original displays were limited to the field of music. Since that time, the Talent Hunt program has been expanded to include other forms of the expressive arts. Participation in the Talent Hunt is open for Music – Vocal and instrumental, classical, semi-classical (i.e. Broadway Musical production, Movie score), gospel and jazz; Dance – ballet, modern dance, and tap; Dramatic Interpretation – Poetry, oration, monologue, etc.; and Visual Art – Sculpture, photography, drawing and painting.
“All of the contestants are winners in our book and thus received medals, certificates of appreciation for their participation and a Theta Alpha goodie bag,” said Theta Alpha Chapter’s 1st Vice Basileus Gayelord Gray, who chaired the event.
The Talent Hunt utilizes professionals with experience in the area of Performance and/ or Visual Arts as Judges. This year’s judges were Dean Hill (aka) the Dean of Jazz; Andrae Rhyne (Local Director in DeSoto ISD), Rev. LaTasha Roberts (former Talent Hunt 1st Place winner and educator who has taught all of the performing arts from kindergarten – collegiate level); and Bobby Lloyd (Graphic and Visual Artist).
The Modern Cajon Jazz Ensemble, courtesy of the City ofof Dallas Office of Arts and Culture entertained throughout the evening.
Special thanks to the Staff and Management of the Latino Cultural Center, The City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and Commissioner Ella Goode Johnson, Chair of the Art and Culture Advisory Commission of the City of Dallas.
This year’s top winners are :
- Heaven Supriya – 1st Place
- Willa Webb – 2nd Place
- Brian Hawkins – 3rd Place
- Tinashe McGowan (Instrumental Piano Solo)– 1st Place
- Xavier Brewington (Instrumental Piano Solo) – 2nd Place
- Jeniah Smith (Dance) – 3rd Place