Thomas Dale searches for an idol

On Friday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m., Thomas Dale High School will host the first night of “Thomas Dale’s Got Talent”, a school-wide talent show featuring students performing in a variety of artistic mediums. Held in the school’s auditorium, the show features live acts competing for monetary prizes which will be awarded Friday, March 4, after numerous rounds of elimination have ensued.

“It hopefully will invite a larger audience who may not necessarily be performance-art goers,” said the show’s producer, Keri Wormald, regarding the talent show at Thomas Dale, which is the home of Chesterfield County Public Schools’ Center for Visual and Performing Arts. “We’re trying to keep the culture alive by making it more accessible to a wider audience, and that’s what a talent show can do at a specialty center because we have such talented kids.”

In a press release, Wormald, who is also a theatre teacher at Dale, refers to the event as “a two-week talent extravaganza” with “eclectic” acts ranging from operatic singing and original contemporary dance to rap and break dancing; many of the competitors are also students in the specialty center.

Determining the show’s top three winners and the advancement of each act to the next round, is a panel of three judges – professionals in the realm of the performing arts. They will offer live critiques of the various acts performing. Judges include: actor/director/producer Steve Perigard, actress/ theatre educator Laine Satterfield (most recently “Martha” in the Firehouse Theatre’s production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?) Richmond Boys’ Choir artistic director Billy Dye, and season seven American Idol semi-finalist Colton Berry.

“I thought the concept of going through rounds and having critiques in front of the audience would be a more interesting show from the audience’s perspective,” said Wormald, “maybe learning something at the same time – that’s why I wanted to get really knowledgeable judges.”

The event will also include the performances of guest artists while audience members vote via text message for each evening’s “People’s Choice” talent winner – an award separate from the judge’s evaluations and conclusions. Performing these nights are guest artists Colton Berry, who is also a judge in the event and Shenandoah Valley native, Matt Johnson, a performer soon to be seen on national TV on the new season of a reality singing competition.

Also, on Friday, March 4, performing as a guest artist is Thomas Dale’s very own Mariah Taliaferro, a junior who played “Motormouth Maybelle” in the school’s recent production of Hairspray. None of the guest artists will be competing in the talent show, performing only as entertainment.

Hosting the talent show both nights are Dale teachers Ms. Kara Watts and Mr. Justin Frashure.

Purchased separately, tickets can be acquired both nights at the door for $5 apiece or audience members may purchase an $8 ticket for both rounds of competition the first night. For more information on the event or to inquire about advanced ticket sales, call Keri Wormald at (804) 339-0596 or email her at


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