MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, Calif. -- Singers, rappers, dancers, poets and musicians—-it was enough talent to take on the likes of Star Search when really it was the African-American Heritage Committee’s Open Mic Talent Show at Victory Field Aug. 18.
More than 20 local artists from the base and Twentynine Palms performed their best routines on-stage and competed for the grand prize and the top three places.
Throughout the night audience members participated in raffle drawings for T-shirts, mugs and other prizes while they enjoyed the show.
Kicking off the show with their fast-paced beat and animated performance, the band “Pop War” with Vincent Nelson, Gabriel Sanchez, Oscar Tiserina and Tim Lemos, all students at 29 Palms High School, let loose with their song, “Little Know It All.”
“We’ve been practicing non-stop crazy for this event, and we’ve been practicing together for a long time,” said Nelson.
“I feel that the event was successful, and we have better talent than I expected,” said Lance Cpl. Ciara Jordan, AAHC. “Some of the performers sounded like they can be professionals pretty soon, such as the band. To be so young, they're well on their way to stardom.”
Pop War wasn't the only high-energy performance; the eyes of the audience tried to keep up with the fast, drum-playing hands of Thomas Porter, also a student at 29 Palms High School, and his performance entitled, "The Drummer From Apoktite." Porter has been playing the drums for more than four years.
Another musician who took the stage was Lance Cpl. Genevieve Palafox, administration supply, Marine Corps Communications-Electronics School, and her soft playing of "Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring."
“I play the guitar because I like it, and it’s a hobby of mine,” said Palafox.
Corporal Raymond Remillard, tactical air operations control repairman, Marine Corps Communications-Electronics School, and Monica Moore, dance partner, swept the audience members off their feet with their upbeat swing dancing skills, while PFC Lawrence Harwell, student, MCCES, performed twice in the show with his poem "Neverland" and rap entry, "Imagine That."
Gunnery Sgt. Ericka Bellamy, AAHC, said the show was part of the preparations for Black History Month 2005.
“We decided to hold the event to search for talent in order to prepare for other future events,” said Jordan. “The next event has not yet been decided, but we'll keep [everyone] posted. The base can definitely look forward to the AAHC doing something else pretty soon.”
Grand prize winner Jamie Perkins, a 2004 graduate of 29 Palms High School, took the audience by storm after she sang her version of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” with a voice that won the audience's cheers. Mikeya Martin, sales clerk, 7-Day Store, followed by her poem "My True Testimonies" and took 1st runner-up.
“I just want to say, ‘thank you to everyone,’” said Perkins. “I like to practice singing, and I eventually want to go to the Institute of Music in Louisiana. I thank God and my family for helping me achieve my goals.”
Jordan said the AAHC appreciated the participation and talents from around the Combat Center and Twentynine Palms; however, there was confusion on the guidelines for performing between the participants.
“We are going to make sure the word gets out to more people for better attendance and will clearly state the rules throughout the show, although the rules were stated during sign-ups,” said Jordan.
The event couldn’t have been organized without the help of AAHC's members; however, the club is currently looking for more people to help out with future AAHC events.
“Thanks to everyone who participated and performed and for all of the support from those who made it possible to put the event on,” said Jordan. “Also, we're always looking for new members.”