Columbia Famous Talent Contest to be held in person


File Photo/The Lion’s Roar

After hosting a variety of virtual events throughout the summer, the Columbia Theatre is planning to host an in-person competition in October. Miss Southeastern 2020 Janine Hatcher will be hosting the event.

After switching to virtual in the spring, The Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts will be hosting its first in-person Columbia Famous Talent Show on Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.

James Winter, artistic director and associate professor of acting and directing, explained the precautions that the Columbia Theatre will be taking to abide by COVID-19 guidelines and regulations.

“We have to wait until Phase Three to be able to do this event,” informed Winter. “We’re hoping to be there by October. Patrons will be asked to wear masks, and we have socially distanced seating in the auditorium. We also have the ionization filters the university is installing in our air conditioning system and several other health and sanitation precautions we are putting in place to keep everyone visiting the theatre safe.”

Due to the pandemic, the event was moved virtual last spring.

“The talent show was actually held virtually back in the spring while everyone was staying at home due to COVID-19,” said Winter. “We wanted to keep people entertained, even though we couldn’t do any shows, so we reached out to the community and asked them to submit 60-second videos in the following categories:  singing, dancing, acting, instrumental music, comedy and visual art.”

Winter detailed the process the nominees went through.

“The visual artists didn’t have to submit a video,” said Winter. “They just had to submit a picture of their work. The Columbia staff judged the initial submissions and then put the top three in each category up for the public to vote on.  Each winner won a pair of tickets to a show at the Columbia. Then we took all the winners and had the public vote on them for the grand prize, which was a pair of season tickets.”

Not only was the competition open to adults, but for children as well.

“We also had a children’s 12-under final,” shared Winter. “That winner won a pair of tickets to ‘Alice’s Christmas in Wonderland.’”

Winter mentioned how the winners of the event will be featured.

“We also asked all of the finalists to come share their winning work with us in person in October as part of Fanfare,” said Winter. “That’s what this event is. Janine Hatcher, Miss Southeastern, will be the master of ceremonies, and people will get to see these amazing local artists perform their winning pieces live.”

Miss Southeastern 2020 Janine Hatcher (Brynn Lundy/The Lion’s Roar)

Janine Hatcher, a senior business administration major, expressed her excitement as master of ceremonies.

“I am very eager to host and am excited to see all of the amazing gifts and talents we have in the Tangipahoa parish,” said Hatcher.

Being in pageantry, Hatcher shared words of wisdom to those competing.

“The advice that I would give to those participating in the talent show would simply just be to be in the moment and have fun doing what you love to do,” said Hatcher. “If you give the best version of yourself on stage, and have a great time doing it, that is what people will remember and what I’m sure the judges will gravitate towards.”

Guests are able to contribute to the Columbia Theatre through the event.

“We’ll also have the artwork of the winning visual artists on display,” shared Winter. “The event is free to everyone. That same day is the Columbia Theatre’s first ever Columbia Famous Fundraising Day, so we’re hoping some of our guests will give a small donation to help support the theatre.”

The Columbia Famous Talent Show is a free event and is located on 220 E. Thomas St. in the Columbia Theatre.