Around Amherst: Talent comes to Pioneer Valley

Staff Writer
Thursday, March 23, 2017

AMHERST — Vocalists, guitarists, a violinist, a pianist, a magician and dancers will take the stage at Buckley Recital Hall at Amherst College Sunday to compete for honors in the first Valley’s Got Talent competition

The event, which runs from 2 to 4 p.m., brings together 17 amateur performers, selected from 45 people who tried out in February. The performers range in age from 9 years old to 80 years old and will be competing for three prizes, with the winner taking home $1,000, and the runners up $500 and $250.

"The talent is, we think excellent, for the most part," said Rosemary Kofler, president of the Friends of the Amherst Senior Center, which is organizing the event.

Valley's Got Talent will serve as both a fundraiser and a community-building effort, replacing the Amherst Follies, which was discontinued after the 2015.

Kofler said each finalist will have six minutes to perform before the audience and a five-judge panel.

The five judges include Jacqueline Wallace, director of the Amherst Area Gospel Choir, Senior Center Director Nancy Pagano, Kim Overtree, an artistic director for musicals, Amherst Fire Chief Walter "Tim" Nelson and Tim Anderson, the director of the University of Massachusetts Minuteman Marching Band and the Amherst Community Band.

The contestants will be scored by the five judges on the basis of talent and stage presence. That will make up 70 percent of the score. The audience response, including decibel level and length of applause, will comprise the remaining 30 percent.

In addition, during the final scoring, will be entertainment by pianist Nadine Shank and saxophonist Jonathan Hulting-Cohen, saxophonist

Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for children and can be purchased at the door and the Senior Center, 70 Boltwood Walk.

Parking for the 53 College St. venue is across the street in the Alumni House parking lot, but people can also be dropped off in front of the building, Kofler said.

Select Board to have new chairperson

Alisa Brewer will not continue as chairwoman of the Select Board beyond the town elections.

Brewer recently announced that she will step away from the leadership position when the board reorganizes on April 3, the first meeting after Tuesday’s town elections.

“You’ll recall that I was reluctant to be the one person who might know things other Select Board members did not know,” Brewer said about becoming chairwoman in April 2015. “Such burdens are heavy at times, in addition to all the relationship maintenance and administrative tasks required of any chair.”

Board member Andrew Steinberg said the other members are indebted to Brewer’s steady hand for the past two years, helping guide the community through the death of Town Manager John Musante and interim town managers.

"I really do appreciate all you've done and all leadership you’ve shown for this board and the town of Amherst," Steinberg said.

Knowing Pi

A Family Math and Pi Night contest at Fort River School last week saw two students recite more than 350 digits from memory of the mathematical constant.

Sixth grader Cameron Gray-Lee achieved 530 digits, while fifth grader Beatriz Cazho Garcia got to 379 digits, according to teacher Carrie Doggett.

The reciting of pi digits came during an evening with math games and activities sponsored by Title I and the Fort River Parent-Guardian Organization.


MONDAY: Amherst School Committee and Charter Commission, joint meeting, 6:30 p.m., police station community room.

TUESDAY: Transportation Advisory Committee, 4 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.

WEDNESDAY: Planning Board, 7 p.m., Town Room, Town Hall.