Calhoun’s Got Talent is back! After a two year hiatus, the Harris Arts Center’s premiere fundraiser returns to the stage with a cast of 17, ranging in age from 13 to 32.
The cast of Calhoun’s Got Talent 2017: Heather Mayfield-Adcock, Aaron Blake, Brooke Dyer, Haiden Green, Hunter Green, Blair Hall, Bri Hall, Darby Jones, Ryleigh Ledford, Adrian D. Lyles, Mercedes McBride, Chris Suggs, Holly Thomas, Catherine Thompson, Brianna Towers, Heather Utz and Susan Willerson. The show is directed by Joshua Lawrence.
This year, not only audience votes, but a panel of judges, will determine the winning contestants. Audience members will receive a ballot to vote for their top three favorites. Three judges will score contestants based on talent and stage presence. The top five audience picks and top five judges’ picks will move on to the finale. Two top prizes will be awarded at the finale, a $750 People’s Choice Award and a $750 Judge’s Award.
Calhoun’s Got Talent is generously sponsored by M&S Logistics, NorthSide Bank, Billie Jean Erwin, Tommy White’s Paint & Body Shop, House Office Products, Teresa Bailey and Kyle and Vivian Smith.
Heather Mayfield-Adcock is a Calhoun native and busy mother of three. She recently obtained an associate’s degree in Business Office Technologies and is continuing her education in Psychology. Having competed previously in Calhoun’s Got Talent 2011, 2012, and 2013, Heather shared her thoughts for the upcoming show, “Singing brings me joy and soothes my soul, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to share my passion with others.”
Sixteen year old Aaron Blake is a sophomore at North Murray High School in Chatsworth, Georgia. Although he has only been playing piano for four years, Aaron composes his own music and will be playing an original piece for Calhoun’s Got Talent entitled “Andromeda”.
For the past decade Brooke Dyer has devoted herself to raising her three boys, her “greatest blessings.” Before marriage and starting a family, music played an integral role in her life. Now that her boys are older, she can once again find time to pursue her love of singing, and feels Calhoun’s Got Talent is a wonderful opportunity to do so.
Brothers Hunter and Haiden Green, age 13 and 16, are homeschooled and have both been playing the piano for eight years. Haiden’s repertoire includes gospel, classical, and movie theme songs and some of his favorite composers are John Williams, Beethoven, Howard Shore and Danny Elfman. Hunter especially enjoys playing gospel and theme songs and has chosen “All of Me”. Haiden will perform a “Star Wars Medley”.
A trio of sisters will also compete, Blair Hall, 16 years old, Bri Hall, 21 years old, and their married sister, Brooke Dyer. Bri attends Dalton State College as a Biology Major with plans of becoming a veterinarian. Bri sings, and taught herself to play guitar, piano and ukulele. Third place winner of Calhoun’s Got Talent 2014, Bri is “very happy to be performing once again in Calhoun’s Got Talent.” Bri helped teach Blair to play guitar, piano and ukulele as well. Blair attends Calhoun High School and is a softball pitcher for her travel team and CHS. “Singing lifts my spirits!” says Blair.
Darby Jones recently graduated from Converse College with a bachelor of music in Violin Performance and a minor in Theater. She began playing the violin at age 4 and singing at age 9. Darby was the most recent winner of the Spartanburg Young Artist Competition and has interned with the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Darby placed third in Calhoun’s Got Talent 2014 and is excited to return this year.
Calhoun High sophomore Ryleigh Ledford is an active member of her school’s drama program. Ryleigh has been singing for as long as she can remember and has thousands of YouTube subscribers. A memorable experience was singing the National Anthem for an Atlanta Braves game. “Hallelujah” is Ryleigh’s song choice for Calhoun’s Got Talent.
Born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, father and business owner Adrian Lyles moved to North Georgia as a young child. He and wife Maggie settled in Calhoun ten years ago, where he established his financial planning practice, Lyles Wealth Management. He often finds himself singing on stage when he’d rather be “operating the lighting or working behind the scenes.”
Passionate about music from early childhood, Mercedes McBride has been singing and songwriting since the age of six. She sang in her church choir and participated in many middle and high school events. As an adult, Mercedes feels called to spread the word of Christ through song. Having performed in Calhoun’s Got Talent 2013 and 2014, her song choice for 2017 is “You’re Bigger.”
Guitarist and singer Chris Suggs is a Calhoun native who performed in Calhoun’s Got Talent 2014. He works in the flooring industry, but music remains a passion and Chris’s dream is “to become a professional singer.” A dedicated father of two, his spare time is devoted to his children, family and friends. Chris will perform “Turn the Page.”
Holly Thomas resides in Calhoun, but grew up in Rome, Georgia. Holly has a Bachelor’s degree in Theater from Berry College, a certificate in Master Cosmetology from GNTC, and is certified in Drama Education P-12 from Columbus State University. She has performed in several plays, musicals and singing contests. Holly grew up singing in choir and continues to do so. Her passions are “music, film and education.”
Fifteen year old Catherine Thompson is the youngest of eight children, all homeschooled. Growing up around farm animals, working horses and training dogs, she is skilled in animal husbandry. A multi-instrumentalist, Catherine can play guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo and piano. In 2012, Catherine’s sister organized the “Peach Pickers”, a band consisting of the two girls and their brother. The group performed at several Booth Western Art Museum gatherings, at the Dillard’s 1st Annual Cowboy Gathering, and at many volunteer and community events. Since her sister married and moved away, Catherine has performed solo.
Seventeen year old Brianna Towers is an honor student and Phoenix Spirit Cheerleader at Sonoraville High School. Credited with more than 300 hours of community service, she has received the community service award for the past three years. In 2013 Brianna made it through to round two auditions for the talent competition show the X-Factor. She enjoys singing at her church and has attended such events as Disciple Now and SPLASH Gordon.
2017 will mark Heather Utz’s sixth appearance in a Calhoun’s Got Talent show, having placed second in 2011 and earning a finalist position each time. A Calhoun native and mother to Ava Marie, Heather “loves to sing”. Known for her pure vocals reminiscent of Patsy Cline, she is “changing her style” this year to perform “The Way I Am” by contemporary artist Ingrid Michaelson.
Originally from Odenton, Maryland, Susan Willerson has lived in Georgia for the past five years. Singing since she was a little girl, she also enjoys drawing, painting and computer illustration. Susan is grateful to her family “for always being supportive of me pursuing my dreams and passion for art.” This will be Susan’s second appearance in Calhoun’s Got Talent, having performed in 2014.
Tickets for Calhoun’s Got Talent are $20 per show, or may be purchased in a two-show package for both the July 29 and August 5 performances for a discounted price of $35. Tickets are available online at www.harrisartscenter.com or by calling 706-629-2599 with credit card information.