Faculty/staff talent show impresses Mountainlair
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 11, 2013 06:02
West Virginia University employees showcased their skills in the Mountainlair Ballroom Friday evening for the University’s third-annual faculty/staff talent show.
Kevin Hamric, a public relations specialist, took home the first-place trophy for singing and playing the guitar to his original song "Solar Powered Love."
Carlton Smith and James Johnson placed second and third, respectively.
Smith is a WVU Police officer who won Mountaineer Idol as a student in 2005. He sang "A Song for You" by Donny Hathaway. Johnson is an administrative associate in the multicultural programs department who danced to Michael Jackson’s "You Rock My World."
"I grew up singing in church, and basically my whole family has always been singing, so I just joined in with everybody else," Smith said. "This is a song I’ve known for a long time, so I practiced it. There wasn’t any tedious preparation, just making sure I still knew the words and everything."
The show was judged by five WVU celebrities – Mountaineer football player Ryan Nehlen, Mountaineer Mascot Jonathan Kimble, Ms. Mountaineer Hilah Zia, 2012 Mountaineer Idol Paris Winfrey and Miss West Virginia, Kaitlin Gates.
Winfrey gave the contestants a few words of advice about stage presence.
"A lot of times, having a smile on your face, enjoying what you’re doing, can totally offset any mistakes that you have onstage," he said. "So just remember to smile and please the crowd."
Graduate student Steven Staffileno and junior public relations student Daryn Vucelik hosted the event.
"I am so excited that we had this place full and that we had such great attendance," Vucelik said of the crowd, which numbered upward of 200 people. "I just hope it grows every year. Next year I hope we have twice as many people because I think it’s so cool to see your professor, you know, playing the guitar. It’s not a part of them you usually see."
Before any of the faculty or staff took the stage, 2012 Mountaineer Idol winner Paris Winfrey performed John Legend’s "Ordinary People," accompanied by bandmate Mike Niemann on the piano.
Fourteen WVU staff members competed throughout the night.
Country music was a popular theme among this year’s talents.
Administrative secretary Pamela DeBarr and nutrition outreach instructor Karen Bright both chose to honor the late female star, Patsy Cline.
Carrie Underwood was also honored twice on Friday night, when Amber Tennant, assistant director for the Division of Human WVU Resources, sang "Good Girl" and Pamela Shriver, a PR specialist, sang "Jesus Take the Wheel."
Chris Honaker from WVU Dining Services paid tribute to Johnny Cash when he sang and played the keyboard to "Folsom Prison Blues."
Mountainlair supervisor and audiovisual technician Jeff Jordan proved there is more to electronic music than just dubstep when he performed "The Model" by the German band Kraftwerk on his keyboard.
Jordan even sang one of the verses to the song in German.
Among the most unique talents of the night were Jason Burns’ storytelling and Jeff Fidan playing the hammered dulcimer.
Other performers included Rosemary Stephenson, Lisa Parlik and Thirimachos Bourhai.