BY MAT CLOUSER
BRANDON — For the better part of a decade (with one year off due to COVID), the Brandon Has Talent Show has brought the best and brightest, cutest and funniest, loudest and quietest, youngest and oldest, most adorable and most cacophonous showstoppers in the 40-ish square-mile area together for a night of singing, dancing, giggling, hula-hooping, and jubilation.
This year’s edition—emceed, as always, by the charming effervescence and age-appropriate ribaldry of Dennis Marden—featured 17 performances and 23 performers across two acts and two-plus hours of music and dance, plus two numbers from Vermont’s only jester—Emma Jeanne Hoops aka Brandon’s own Emma Page—all performed in front of one the biggest crowds in the Brandon Has Talent Show’s history.
This year’s event was sponsored by Hayes Pallets and Ronnie, Carolyn, and Rick Hayes and was brought to life via a crackerjack stage crew of Kathy Mathis (props and costumes); Will and Erica Mathis (lighting/tech); Deb Jennings, Mary Shields, Allison Devino, and Christi Koch (backstage crew).
Allison Devino, Deb Jennings, Dennis Marden, and Kathy Mathis all took part in hosting auditions for this year’s show which featured (in order of appearance); vocals from Chloe and Hillary Collier; vocals and ukulele from Calle and Matthew Gibbs; dance from Woody Laraway and Chase Pockette; piano from Jeanette Devino; vocals from Adeline White; vocals and ukulele from Josh Pockette and “friends” Chase and Blake Pockette, Miranda Hayes, and Audrey Carrier; piano and vocals from Apple Laraway; a flow arts performance from Emma Page and friends Audrey Carrier, Chase and Blake Pockette; vocals from Audrey Carrier; dance from Paisley and Apple Laraway; vocals from Jadyn Devino; piano and vocals from Wyatt Waterman; vocals from Bethany White; dance from MacKenzie Howland and Aryanna Odell; vocals from Jessica Crossman, and a surprise dance and hula-hoop performance from Emma Page.
As always, all proceeds from the show (which was 100% volunteer-supported) went directly back into the restoration and renovation of Brandon Town, which, according to Marden, has now “raised and spent” over 1.6 million dollars since the Friends of Town Hall was established in 1998. This year’s projects included scraping and painting the ceiling in the main hall, upgrading the fire suppression system downstairs, and adding a drop ceiling in the meeting room.