Emcee Dennis Mangers promised the “Sacramento Has Talent” show audience that they would leave saying, “That’s entertainment!” His prediction proved true, as a lineup of talented local dancers, bands, musicians, comedian, filmmaker, singers and a spoken-word artist delighted the crowd.
The April 4 show at the Crest Theater was presented by Access Sacramento as a benefit for a neighborhood youth reporter program.
Guest artist Lisa Daggs and her five-member band opened the show with a rocking performance of her hit single “Forgiveness is a Powerful Thing.” An energetic Daggs connected with the crowd as she moved about the stage and let her raspy, powerful voice soar.
Daggs’ musical career took off after she won the “Voice of the 90s” contest at the Crest Theater and signed a recording contract. Mangers said that he hoped that the “Sacramento Has Talent” winner would have the same success as Daggs.
Mangers shared his own talent, singing “That’s Entertainment” while a Vegas-like line of dancers from the Sound Out Tap Company engagingly tappety-tapped across the floor.
Twelve performers, including one in a short film, took their turns on stage and their high-quality and entertaining performances made the judges’ jobs challenging. The night’s judges were Melissa Paul from News10, Richard Lewis from the California Musical Theatre and Brittany Young, co-host of “Mark at the Movies.”
The judges sat at a table on the edge of the stage and offered their critiques after each performance. Each performer was rated on a one to 10 scale, based on their showmanship, performance quality and entertainment value. Young remarked, “It was amazing to watch. The whole time, I’m like 10, 10, 10, 10!”
After the scores were tallied, the winner was Chris Barron aka Chris B Fresh. The nine-year-old dancer, wearing white sunglasses and white suspenders over black pants and shirt, drew huge applause. One judge said, “You are the coolest, most swagged-out nine-year-old I’ve ever seen in my life!”
Fresh has been dancing since he was six, and was recently filmed in a soon-to-be released ad for Sketchers shoes. His goals are to “dance on the Ellen show, go to college, become a scientist and travel the world.”
Dancer Ava Chatterson won second place honors with her bawdy, bluesy and humorous interpretation of Ruth Brown’s “If I Can’t Sell it, I’ll Keep Sittin’ on it.” Chatterson performs with the Sacramento Ballet and had many supporters in attendance.
Third place went to Suyash aka “Bombay,” a 16-year-old spoken word and hip-hop poetry artist who bounced onto the stage. In his bright red jacket and red Keds shoes, he got the audience chanting “B-o-m-b-a-y!
Another winner during the event was Dr. Barbara O’Connor, who was given the first “Power of Voice” award for her lifelong work using the power of her voice to “express her unique point of view.” Dr. O’Connor is a retired California State University, Sacramento professor who has mentored thousands. She is also a nationally recognized speaker and the founder of KXPR-FM, Sacramento’s public radio station.
In accepting her award, O’Connor said, “Passion is what we’re experiencing tonight and that’s what it takes to have a powerful voice.”
Ron Cooper, executive director of Access Sacramento, and the man who conceived of the “Sacramento Has Talent” event, said that he hopes that the event “signals the beginning of many wonderful careers.” Cooper also announced the end of his career with Access Sacramento and his plan to retire in August.
The winners of “Sacramento Has Talent” were awarded prizes from $100 to $500, but the real winners are Sacramento residents who are blessed by so much local talent.
For those who missed the live show, Access Sacramento filmed it and will broadcast it on its public TV stations, channels 17 and 18.