Gabriel Atiyeh is 8 years old, and on Sunday he will stand in front of an audience and display his talent on the hammered dulcimer.
“If I think about the judges then I’ll get nervous,” Atiyeh said. “But I’ll remind myself that this is the chance to glorify God through beautiful music.”
Atiyeh, a student at the Williamsburg Montessori School, and more than 20 other home-schooled and private school students will show off their talents in a special show.
Amanda Paull, owner of Liberty Partner School of Williamsburg and organizer of the talent show, decided to create the event after her husband, Travis, and Tobi Wiseman, president of the board for Providence Classical School, were discussing the need for these students to have this kind of opportunity.
“They need something like this to develop public speaking and performing skills,” Paull said. “Because they don’t get a chance to do that at home or in a small classroom.”
For Andriana Dumphy, a 15-year-old student at Providence Classical School, the show will be the first time she will performing an original song in front of a large audience.
Her piece, “My Song,” is one she wrote about following dreams and not conforming to conventional images of beauty. Dumphy said she hopes to touch people in the audience and encourage them to believe in themselves.
“This is such a unique opportunity because we are bringing together these small communities into one community with all different talents,” Dumphy said.
While Williamsburg has previously hosted talent shows solely for home-schooled students, Paull said, there wasn’t one that gave private school students the chance to perform in front of a large audience. With this talent show, pupils from local private schools get the chance to unite with the community of home-schooled students in the area, she said.
Most of the students in the show have been working on their talents for years, such as Atiyeh who began playing his instrument when he was 6.
The show will feature not only musical performances, but also hip-hop routines and an Irish dance by 11-year-old Cana Fass.
“Her little feet could go as fast as the Busch Gardens performers,” Paull said. “Seeing what these kids can do at such a young age is amazing.”
Not just for the stage
Students can enter in two categories: performing or visual arts. Performing arts are those who have talents that will be displayed on stage, while visual arts are sculpture or painting submissions, which will be on display for viewing.
Students can enter in either category, with separate groups for middle school students and high school students. Winners in each age group will be awarded $50 for first place, $25 for second place and $10 for third place.
The show is at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center, 9275 Barnes Road, in Toano. Admission is free for children under 19, and $5 online or $7 at the door for adults.
“The show is just going to be impressive,” Paull said. “These students are using their talents for good and they’re going to blow the audience away.”