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Talent Show showcases impressive local youth

By: Lacy Hilliard
Tomahawk Writer/Photographer

Johnson County may be small but what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Local youth solidified Johnson County’s artistic aptitude at the 9th Annual Johnson County Talent Show held at Heritage Hall on Friday, April 25.
The students, grades K-12, that participated in the show had already won at the school level and were sent on to compete for the coveted county title at the Johnson County Community Foundation sponsored Heritage Hall show. The judges, who were all chosen from outside of the county, were left with the difficult task of naming the best of the best.
The first category was grades kindergarten through third and kicking off this group was A.J. Reece with an endearing and engaging performance of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” from Disney’s “Frozen.” Next up was Peyton Gentry who was awarded third place for her technically challenging fiddle performance. Braden Leigh Eastridge was next with a voice far bigger than the boy singing “On My Knees,” followed by second place winner and future rock star Gaston Dugger who performed a truly amazing drum solo. Brookanna Hutchins was next to take the stage with a heartwarming rendition of, “What a Savior.” Bringing both talent and personality; Cody Broussard was up next playing a guitar piece titled “Class and Rock Boogie.” Landell Walker brought a bit of patriotism to the Heritage Hall stage with his adorable performance of “Grand Old Flag.” Closing the K-3 Category were first place winners Lily Reynolds and Joshua Ransom singing and signing, “Nothing but the Blood/Jesus Loves Me.” The duo easily won the hearts of both the audience and judges and served as a fitting end to the talent-filled kindergarten through third grade category.
Danielle Robinson was first to take the stage in the grades four through six category giving a sincere performance of “I Just Want to Thank You Lord.” Adam Manuel was up next with an impressive piano piece titled “Love Song.” Third place winner, Sydney Souder sang and played on piano a touching rendition of “Have I Told You Lately.” Caitlyn Artidello performed a powerful acapella rendition of “The Circle of Life.” Taylor Parsons clogged her way into first place with her mesmerizing performance to the song “Lookout Weekend.” Cortlyn Keith put on her clogging shoes next; performing with a smile to “Knee Deep.” Hannah Bauer and Cindy Jones were next to take the stage. The pair proved to be a dynamic duo with an energetic gymnastics and dance routine. Finally in the fourth through sixth grade category was Hope Reynolds who gave a passionate and intelligent monologue and performance of “Amazing Grace.”
Seventh through eighth grades were up next with the creative and fashionable Daisy Treadway first to take the stage with a vocal hip hop inspired performance. Third place winner Connor Long was up next followed by first place winner Julia Jenkins both with fantastic vocal performances, Long with a refreshing vocal clarity and Jenkins with a soulful rasp far her senior. Second place winners Brittney and Courtney Brooks closed the category with a beautiful and moving piano/vocal duet.
Last to take the Heritage Hall stage were grades 9-12. Opening the 9-12 category was the always-entertaining Brad Harris. Harris gave a stunning yet technically precise guitar/vocal performance of the Fleetwood Mac classic “Landslide.” Up next was third place winner and flute prodigy Moriah Franklin with a challenging arrangement. Shelia Mason was up next with an impassioned vocal performance of John Legend’s “All of Me.” First place winner was Maggie Aldridge with a fantastic vocal performance of “93 Million Miles” Her brother Caleb provided guitar accompaniment in what proved to be the icing on top of a very well-baked cake. Maggie Aldridge left the audience in awe with her performance which could easily have given the original artist, Jason Mraz, a run for his money.
The Johnson County Community Foundation (JCCF) is comprised of Danny Cullop, Wanda Payne, Barbara Seals, Terry Reece, Joe Herman, John Mast, Russell Love, Carol Stout, Minnie Miller, Wanda Timbs, Caroline Roark, Priscilla Davis, Gina Meade, Jane Ann McGee and Barbara Henson. The Johnson County Youth Talent Show is just one of the many good works the JCCF does throughout the community. The JCCF is an affiliate fund of the East Tennessee Foundation which was established in 1986 and now spans 25 counties throughout Eastern Tennessee. The goal of the JCCF as well as the ETF is simple –to provide generous grants to various designated to active non-profits with a “give where you live” attitude in mind.
Several sponsors also helped promote the evening of fun and music including Triple C Transportation, Danny Herman Trucking, Inc. and Danny Herman, Bob and Minnie Miller, Maymead, Inc., Farmers State Bank, Johnson County Bank, Mountain City Medical Center, Herman Enterprises, LLC., Stone Mountain Log Homes, Mountain City Funeral Home, Levi Retirees, Betty Brown, Mark Sijthoff, Elizabethton Federal Savings, Heritage Hall, Wednesday Music Club, and Kiwanis Club of Johnson County making a combined effort of nearly $3,500.
If you’d like more information about the Johnson County Community Foundation and the East Tennessee Foundation, visit Through the support of foundations like the JCCF as well as generous local businesses and individuals; the youth of Johnson County were able to showcase their artistry in a manner as grand as their talents. Consider supporting local organizations as well as Heritage Hall ( which provides a venue for countless artistic and cultural opportunities.