Henry Has Talent auditions this Saturday

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

It’s almost time for local residents with unique abilities to get noticed for their talents.

Auditions for this year’s Henry Has Talent show are set for Saturday from 1-5 p.m., at the Henry County Performing Arts Center, 37 Lemon St., in McDonough.

L. to r.: Jeff Cooper, emcee for Henry Has Talent stands with A.J. Hicks, the first place winner at the 2016 competition. Special photo

Henry Has Talent is a fundraiser organized each year by the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy and the Kiwanis Club. This year’s show is scheduled for Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m., also at the PAC.

The entry fee is $30 for a single participant, or $50 for groups of two or more.

Now in its ninth year, the event typically attracts a wide variety of performers from the area, with skills including music, singing, acting, dancing and others, said Patti Brown, chairperson for the foundation’s Henry County chapter.

“Our auditions range from 50-75 people,” said Brown, adding that the number of participants is usually whittled down to about 24 entries before the show. “We’ve had people as old as 70 and as young as 4. The whole community enjoys it, and they get to come out to support a good cause.”

The Ferst Foundation, she added, has sent more than 110,000 books to children in Henry County since 2007. Its mission is to increase childhood literacy by mailing free books to preschoolers from birth to five years of age. Brown said the talent show, which raised $4,000 last year, has been instrumental in meeting such needs locally.

“It’s been a huge success, and the community really enjoys being involved in this,” said Brown. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Brown expressed her appreciation for those who perform in and support the talent show each year. She noted that because young children are “sponges” when it comes to learning, getting them interested in reading early helps them to develop critical-thinking skills which will help them as they grow.

“Those people who are helping us in the talent show are also helping us develop reading skills for preschoolers in Henry County,” said Brown. “The money that they donate is going directly to children, to help them with their reading skills.”

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three entrants in the talent show. The Kiwanis Club will also award a scholarship to a top-performing high school student in Henry County who sings or plays music in the show, said Laura Turner, publicity chair for the club.

Turner said her favorite aspect of the talent show is the diversity of performers in it, from their ages to the types of performances they give.

“We’ve had jugglers, musical theater, comedians,” she said. “You’ve got your traditional singers, pianists, and lots of gymnasts.”

Turner emphasized that aside from completing an application and attending an audition, there is no criteria entrants must meet in order to participate.

Tickets for “Henry Has Talent!” are $12 each for adults and $5 for children 5-12. Kids age 4 and under will get in free. Tickets can be purchased at the door on the day of the event.

Contestants can sign up in advance by bringing entry forms to 934 Dailey Mill Road in McDonough, or by registering at 1 p.m., on the day of the event.

For more information about the talent show, call Patti Brown at 678-432-4542. For more on the Ferst Foundation, visit www. henryferst.org or www.ferstfoundation.org.