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Students shine under spotlight

Phi Theta Kappa's talent show promotes Theatre Cedar Rapids

By Ellen McCauley
On November 21, 2013


Students of Kirkwood Community College showcased their unique talents at Phi Theta Kappa's talent show on Nov. 14 in Cedar Hall.

"Personally, I didn't know what to expect," said Tony Arduini, associate professor of speech communication and co-advisor of the Alpha Eta Rho chapter, Kirkwood's chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. "We figured we might get more people involved with a talent show."

Phi Theta Kappa hosted the talent show as a service project known as Honors in Action. The organization donated all proceeds to Theatre Cedar Rapids. According to Arduini, Phi Theta Kappa raised more than $200 from admissions to the show and bake sales.

Dennis Clark, a member in the Alpha Eta Rho chapter, also worked as an emcee for the event. He said he is a supporter of the talent show.

"We're giving back to the community, more specifically the performing arts, who doesn't get a lot of funding," Clark said. "It's an opportunity for Phi Theta Kappa to try to give back to the community and get people from the community involved."

Todd Cross, student and a member of Phi Theta Kappa, often volunteers with Theatre Cedar Rapids and knew how much the organization can benefit from outside fundraising efforts.

"I volunteer at Theatre Cedar Rapids and I know how great it is," Cross said. "The event was a great way to blend theatre into Phi Theta Kappa."

Three judges participated in the event to critique to the contestants: Leslie Charlpar, artistic director at Theatre Cedar Rapids, Janelle Lauer, musical director at Theatre Cedar Rapids and Dr. Amy Rehnstrom, a professor in science at Kirkwood who also acts in Theatre Cedar Rapids productions. The judges provided helpful and colorful advice to the performers.

First place winner received $150 in vouchers to Theatre Cedar Rapids, second place received a ticket bundle to Collins Road Theatre and third place received a gift card to Wehrenberg Theatres. All participants in the talent show received tickets to Theatre Cedar Rapids' upcoming production, Spamalot.

First place winner was Gabe Rudolph, who showed his comedic talents with his stand-up routine. The judges said they loved his ability to juxtapose his nerdiness against his audacity.

Rudolph opened his routine with, "Hi everyone, my name is Harry Potter," proceeding to explain his history with the boy who lived.

"A lot of people say I look like Harry Potter," Rudolph said. "If J.K. Rowling had made Harry Potter a little bit hotter, my life would be a lot easier."

Rudolph continued to describe himself and his personality through his stand-up, talking about his sign language classes and his opinions toward video games and astrology. 

Other acts included two bands, singers, a dance routine and a poetry reading.

Leah Hanson recited "Blown Away" by Carrie Underwood in American sign language. The judges said they liked her unorthodox performance and said they could feel the emotion behind the story she told with her sign language.

The event featured 11 acts. Approximately 100 persons were in attendance.

During the planning stages, Hoa Nguyen, vice president of Phi Theta Kappa, reflected on the difficulty of planning such an event.

"A talent show is a really tough event to run," Nguyen said. "You really can't plan ahead because anything can happen."

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