Pearl Wyman, 10, left, and Elizabeth Weiss, 11, play the old Guns N’ Roses hit song, “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” during Saturday’s audition at the Moffat County High School auditorium for the upcoming Local Talent Concert. Craig residents showcased their skills to find a place in the lineup for the Talent Concert, which is put on by the Craig Concert Association.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Pearl Wyman, 10, left, and Elizabeth Weiss, 11, play the old Guns N’ Roses hit song, “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” during Saturday’s audition at the Moffat County High School auditorium for the upcoming Local Talent Concert. Craig residents showcased their skills to find a place in the lineup for the Talent Concert, which is put on by the Craig Concert Association.

Concert auditions bring out abilities of Craig residents

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Francisco Reina plays a song he wrote, “Las Pueltas de la Pricion,” at the audition Saturday. Nineteen singers, guitarists and musicians showed up to have a place in the Talent Concert on May 1.

Jim Simpson, of the Craig Concert Association, contends the “whole world changes when the spotlight hits you.”

Such a change occurred Saturday for nearly 20 Craig residents, who appeared under the bright lights of the Moffat County High School auditorium. The residents were auditioning for the Craig Concert Association’s upcoming Local Talent Concert, scheduled for May 1 at MCHS.

Simpson, Denise Whitney and Ken Meyers served as the panel of judges for Saturday’s audition, which included many residents performing on the guitar, piano, flute, and in one case, a xylophone.

The performers were judged based on stage comfort and presence, as well as artistic ability.

“I really believe in the arts and the community, but Craig is so isolated that we don’t get to see a lot of (musical) groups coming through,” said Whitney, a first-time judge who has taught music for 35 years.

“It’s important to encourage talent,” she said.

Ray Cartwright, who auditioned with the guitar piece “Wolves” by Garth Brooks, agreed that having an artistic outlet is important to many in the community.

“People don’t realize the amount of talent that is here locally,” Cartwright said. “It’s good for the community and the artists whether it’s dance, classical on the piano, (or) singing on the guitar.”

The Talent Concert began in 1978 and has continued annually, providing community members with an outlet for hidden talents.

One such budding talent belonged to the young duet of Pearl Wyman, 10, and Elizabeth Weiss, 11, who performed an acoustic version of Guns N’ Rose’s “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

They said they played “Sweet Child O’ Mine” because “its easy,” but both hope to be able to perform “Ripple” by the Grateful Dead if chosen to perform at the big show in May.

Seeing a younger crowd fill the stage was encouraging to Whitney.

“It’s human at the very basics,” she said. “The arts are what make us human, and in this day and age, we are losing touch of that. Kids are spending all their time behind video games or texting.”

One performer disproving Whitney’s notion was Kim Hill, a Moffat County High School junior, who impressed the judges with her performance of “Hungarian Fantasy” arranged by Franz Doppler on the flute.

“I think it’s great that people can come together and share what they love to do,” she said. “I just love sharing what I love with other people.”

One theme echoed by most of the judges and performers was the sense of community that the Talent Concert brings to Craig.

“You may see someone on the street, then you see them on stage and its like, ‘Wow, I didn’t know they could do that,’” Hill said.

The Talent Concert originally was scheduled to take place April 24 at the MCHS auditorium, but it was rescheduled to May because of a scheduling conflict with the high school’s prom.

For more information on the event, call Simpson at 824-4138.

Brian Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or briansmith@craigdailypress.com.

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