IUP students perform at first 'Talons 'N Talents' show

Ellie Abbott (sophomore, musical theater) performed an original song at the first annual "Talons 'N Talents." 

Last Thursday, Nov. 3, the IUP community witnessed the first annual “Talons ‘N Talents” competition.

A joint effort between the IUP Ambassadors and the Student Government Association (SGA), “Talons N Talents” is a talent show-style competition created with the intent of promoting and celebrating philanthropy on campus.

In order to attend the event, students needed to either bring a food donation for the IUP Food Pantry, or a piece of clothing for the IUP Crimson Closet or write a “Thank You” letter to IUP donors.

“As students we have benefitted from philanthropy in so many different ways,” said Molly McCullough (sophomore, nursing), an IUP Ambassador and one of the MCs of the night. “Classroom materials, special facilities, scholarships… we have all of that thanks to our amazing donors, so we wanted to thank them for that.”

The event was also MC-ed by Daniel Kukula (sophomore, regional planning), SGA’s Chief Justice.

The event was also supported by the IUP chapter of Alpha Psi Omega (APO), the National Theater Honor Society. APO supported the event by providing its space at Waller Hall as venue for the event.

Throughout the event students showcased a variety of talents. Although most of the performances were vocal performances, there were also musical theater performances as well as dance routines.

Additionally, even amongst the vocal performances there was a strong variety of talents showcased, as there was a diverse range of music genres explored through the night.

The genres ranged from R&B ballads such as “Lift Me Up” by Rihanna to rock songs such as “Hypersonic Missiles” by Sam Fender. Other genres explored included: Folk Gospel (“Hallelujah”), pop (“She Used to be Mine”) and country (“Summertime”).

Some students also took the show as an opportunity to perform original songs, written based on their own life experiences.

“When I was in high school, I was not in a good place mentally, so I wrote ‘Concrete’ because I did not think I deserved to be here,” said Ellie Abbott (sophomore, musical theater). “Now I am in a better place mentally and I know that I deserve to be here, that everybody deserves to be here.”

“So, I [performed] this song to let everyone know that they are special and deserving of being where they are at,” Abbott added.

In the end, Regan Colatta-Rigney was the winner for her performance of “Our Lady of the Underworld” from the Tony Award winning musical “Hadestown.”

Overall, the event seemed to be quite successful; with a high turnout of audience members, performers and “thank you” cards dedicated to the donors.

“The event went a lot better than I personally expected,” said Isaac Evans (senior, history/political science). “Students who were involved with the Ambassadors last year know how hard and for how long we have been trying to pull this off.”

“I am very thankful for having SGA and APO as our partners in this, we could not have done it without their support.”

Students who missed the event do not need to worry, as the IUP Ambassador’s intend to make “Talons N’ Talents” an annual event. Look out for next year’s event on the IUP Ambassador’s official Instagram account @iup_ambassadors.

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