Students Compete for $500 Prize at Annual Talent Show

Sophomore Jamey Lemon, who organized the talent show, stands with first-place winner Abby Theroff, ’20, at the conclusion of the event. PHOTO BY ROBERTA BURNS.


The annual Westminster Talent Show drew a crowd of more than 150 guests as nine student acts competed for the top spots to win $500, $300 or $100 of prize money. The event was hosted by the Campus Activities Board and featured a new twist to the night of spectacular performances.

For the first time, the show included a guest performer Nelson “Nelly” Emokpae from Nelly’s Echo as the emcee. He previously performed on The Voice and presented the audience with a variety of covers and self-written songs throughout the show.

The four judges who selected the winners were Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Jane Kenney-Hunt, Interim Vice President and Dean of Student Life Dan Haslag, Enrollment Partnership Coordinator Kelle Silvey and Callaway County United Way Executive Director Megan Prenger. Performers were evaluated on stage presence, overall performance, personality, “polish” and audience appeal.

After talents ranging from whistling to dancing, the judges deliberated and tallied their scores. Westminster President Benjamin Akande presented the top prize of $500 to Abby Theroff, ’20, for her slam poetry performance.

Theroff has only been writing slam poetry since last year.

“I did it for a creative writing class and really liked it,” she said. “My poems are based on true events. Instead of getting angry or depressed, I write a poem.”

Theroff said that she is looking forward to continuing working in this field.

“Jackie [Weber] is going to help connect me with someone professionally,” she said. “I’m majoring in biochemistry, not English, so this is something new for me.”

She said that she plans to save the prize money so that she can move on campus next semester.

“I’m living with my parents, so I’m working really hard to make enough money to live here in the future,” she explained.

Lillie Turkington, an exchange student from Northern Ireland, took second place and $300 for her self-arranged mashup of “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele and “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley. Rounding out the winners was Kellie Kavanaugh, ’17, who sang “Rise Up” by Andra Day and dedicated the performance in memory of her voice teacher. Kavanaugh won $100 for the third-place prize.

Campus Activity Board Concert and Comedy Chairman Jamey Lemon, ’19, said that he was pleased with how the night turned out.

“I think that the show was very successful,” Lemon said. “We had wonderful performers and our emcee did an amazing job. This is exactly how I had planned that the event would turn out, and I couldn’t be happier.”


Emily Nordseick, ’20, opened the show by playing the ukulele and singing “Youth” by Daughter. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROHIT BHANDARI.

Tsuendue and Nyathi

Tenzin Tsuendue, ’19, and Gama Nyathi, ’19, wait backstage for their performance time. PHOTO BY ROBERTA BURNS.

Tsuendue and Nyathi on Stage

Tsuendue and Nyathi entertained the crowd with a robotic dubstep dance. PHOTO BY ROBERTA BURNS.

Guhit and Singh

Up next were sophomores Jem Guhit and Saruav Singh, who performed an instrumental rendition of “My Heart Will Go On” from the movie “Titanic.” PHOTO COURTESY OF ROHIT BHANDARI.


Chris Idleburg, ’20, shared a unique talent of whistling “Rock with You” by Michael Jackson. PHOTO BY ROHIT BHANDARI.

Lemon, Elmi and Nelly's Echo

Event coordinator Jamey Lemon, ’19, is joined by Mustafe Elmi, ’17, on his right and Nelly’s Echo on his left. Elmi won one of the door prizes that were up for grabs by audience members. Ten total gift cards were won by those who attended the show. PHOTO BY ROBERTA BURNS.


Lillie Turkington impressed the judges with her mash-up of “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele and “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROHIT BHANDARI.


Ravnia Kate, ’19, choreographed a dance that was a fusion of hip-hop and modern. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROHIT BHANDARI.


Senior Kellie Kavanaugh earned third place with her rendition of “Rise Up” by Andra Day. Kavanaugh reminded the audience to rise up and fight through the pain and struggles and to be mindful to others. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROHIT BHANDARI.

Savio and Tchomba

Lucy Savio, ’18, and Benni Tchomba, ’21, sand a fusion of three songs, all of which were dedicated to the people they love, some who were lost along the way, and other who they would go the extra mile for. PHOTO BY ROBERTA BURNS.


Abby Theroff, ’20, won first place with her self-written slam poems. Her first piece was titled “Am I Pretty Enough?” and encompassed self-love and illustrated the unattainable societal image of beauty. The second piece, called “Daddy,” explained the hardships of interracial relationships and the prevalence of racism in contemporary society. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROHIT BHANDARI.

Nelly's Echo

Nelly’s Echo was available for a meet-and-greet with talent show guests after the show. PHOTO BY ROBERTA BURNS.

T-Shirt Toss

The crowd eagerly awaits a T-shirt toss in between performances. PHOTO BY ROBERTA BURNS.



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