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Happy Valley's Got Talent Auditions Boast Big Turnout

by on March 01, 2015 4:00 PM

Some lucky community members will have a chance to showcase their talents later this month at Happy Valley’s Got Talent.

The event, which benefits the Tides program, is entering its fifth year. Auditions were held this weekend at Indigo night club.

Suzanne Thompson, the charitable organization's executive director, says that over 50 acts auditioned, but only 15 will be selected to take the State Theatre stage on March 28.

The 2015 edition of Happy Valley's Got Talent hopes to bring in at least $50,000. The money will go to Tides, which offers free support for families coping with the death of a loved one.

For hula-hooping performer Branda Smeltzer, 26, a State College native who now lives in Clearfield, the event hits close to home.

“It’s a benefit show for a very good cause, so I wanted to get involved,” she says. “I lost my mother when I was young, and my grief counselor had worked with Tides, so I knew about the foundation and what it does.”

Tides offers completely free counseling services for grief counseling and accepts all interested families. Thompson says that in the last two years, Tides has tripled the number of families it works with.

“It’s grown every year and this time, we have a lofty fundraising goal of $50,000,” she says. “We accept everyone and it’s free of charge. We’re an open program. So we need fundraising to go well in order to maintain that. There are a lot of generous people in our community and we hope that we can reach our goal.”

The final 15 performers will be selected from a pool of acts that took part in auditions. That includes vocalists, pianists, violinists, and more. If any of them are as talented as Smeltzer, who wowed the judges as she twirled hula-hoops filled with colorful LED lights, the event will be a great success.

“I taught myself how to do hooping. I got interested when it started getting bigger a few years back and the LED hoops started showing up,” she says. “My friends got me interested in it. I bring them to concerts, including a couple at Tussey Mountain and a few in Ohio.”

After Smelzter finished performing to the tune of hit pop song “Let’s Go” by Calvin Harris and Ne-Yo, a few judges and children couldn’t help but try out the hula-hoops.

If Smeltzer is selected, she will be one of five in the Prime Time group, which includes performers 21 years of age and up. The Rising Stars (12 to 15) and Future Fame (16 to 20) will make up the other 10 performers.

The March 28 event will include a 2 p.m. matinee show in which the winner is selected by “kid’s choice,” essentially a round of applause.

The 7 p.m. main event will be hosted by two emcees and includes a star-studded panel of local celebrity judges. The panel of five judges includes Sue Paterno, Mayor Elizabeth Goreham, BMX legend Jamie Bestwick, Blue Band Director Richard Bundy, and Penn State football's Christian Brady.

The show will also include a live auction and raffle to raise funds for Tides.

Tickets can be purchased on the State Theatre website


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Zach Berger is the managing editor of He graduated from Penn State University in 2014 with a degree in print journalism. Zach enjoys writing about a variety of topics ranging from football to government, music, and everything in between.
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