Night to Shine turned 21 this year and headed to Vegas to celebrate.
It was a night of glitz, glitter and glorious talent shining bright as nearly 100 Helena teens took to the Helena Civic Center stage Tuesday night.
An appreciative near-capacity crowd rocked the Helena Civic Center with applause and cheers.
The 22 acts ranged from a “Mailman Love Song,” to gymnastics, to sizzling hot jazz and Bavarian slap dancing. There was also classical piano, kung fu fighting, East Coast Swing dancers, a rapper and loads more.
“This is the most variety we’ve had in our show,” said Manny Lopez, who’s been directing NTS the past 13 years.
One of the acts jumpstarting the night was Johannes Straubinger, dressed in traditional German lederhosen, who shared two Bavarian slap dances from his native Germany.
Helena High junior Hannah Harvey sang her original song, “Mailman Love Song,” a hilarious love-sick ode to her mailman.
Playing a fun little ditty on her ukulele was a great break from years of playing the violin, she said backstage. “It’s a silly little song. It’s been really cool to play the uke, it’s a cute little instrument.” (And, for all those who keep asking her — she doesn’t even know who her mailman is.)
Adding a special wow factor to the night was Capital High senior Claire Amundson, who recruited fellow senior J.D. Strange to join her in singing a flashy, jazzy version of “Feeling Good,” made popular by Michael Buble.
Backing them up was a brass section, pianist, guitarist, drummer and dance troupe. Although they were the ones standing out in front, they credit dancer Emmie Bristow for making their act come together.
CHS senior Elise Perpignano, performing with five musican friends, made a stunning stage debut singing the indie rock song “Fix You” by Coldplay.
Although she’s been singing for years, she admited “I didn’t plan to be in Night to Shine. My friends signed me up.” She’s forever grateful they did.
“I have had stage fright forever,” she said before the show. “I’ve never done this before. It’s taken me four years to get the guts to do it.”
She hopes other teens don’t wait as long as she did to give NTS a chance and audition: “It’s so cool.”
Also offering up some beautiful vocals were Coral Schulz, Mary Boespflug, Maddie Cormier and Kiera Spencer, with their haunting harmonies in “Almost Lover” by A Fine Frenzy.
Adding pizzazz to the evening was “Jumpin’ Jack Swing,” a dynamic demo of East Coast Swing with a flying flurry of polka dots, petticoats and a rockin’ rhythm. HHS senior Emma Esposito loves to dance and grabbed nine willing friends to give it a whirl. They threw themselves into it — spinning, twirling, sliding and somersaulting.
“The majority are not dancers,” she said. But who would’ve guessed?
Filling out the action-packed evening was 16-year-old Harley Didriksen, in a red leotard, doing graceful spins, flips and rolls atop the balance beam.
A whole different kind of action came from a five-member tae kwon do team, headed up by Justin Dauenhauer, who split boards with their hands and staged combat using bo sticks.
The annual NTS is organized by members of the CHS and HHS DECA clubs and is sponsored by the Helena Community Credit Union. Club members plan and organize the Helena area talent show. The money raised finances their costs to attend the national DECA conference.