After three months and over 200 performances by artists of all kinds from across Northeastern Pennsylvania and beyond, the 12 weekly winners chosen by audiences during Season 2 of the NEPA Scene’s Got Talent open mic and talent competition gathered at Thirst T’s Bar & Grill in Olyphant on Dec. 1 for the Finals Showcase, sponsored by Samuel Adams; LT Verrastro, Inc.; Fireball Cinnamon Whisky; Fuzz 92.1; TwentyFiveEight Studios; and Thirst T’s.
Despite it being held on a Tuesday night, over 100 people – friends, family, and supporters of the arts – packed the bar for a full night of entertainment by musicians James Barrett, Pulak (Connor Langan and Dom Ludovici), Grant Williams, Awnshae Smith, Mat Burke, Fred Emmett, Tanner “DrummerBoy” Snyder and Zhach Kelsch, Bradley Maurice Kingsley, Alyssa Lazar, Umbriel (Aarika Whittle, Anthony “Shiny” Montini, Katie Kelly, and Grant Williams), and Adam Bailey and comedian John Walton, all dressed up for the red carpet event. Every performance was exceptional and unique, representing many different ages and backgrounds and showing just how much varying talent comes out of NEPA.
While there was camaraderie and mutual respect all around, an almost impossible decision had to be made – who would take home the grand prize? Using sheets that scored each act in five categories, the panel of judges – made up of Mark Dennebaum, owner of TwentyFiveEight Studios and co-host of the NEPA Scene Podcast; Jason Riedmiller, award-winning NEPA Scene photographer; Dave Ciabocchi, representing Fireball Cinnamon Whisky; and Steve Eshelman, representing LT Verrastro – declared Walton the winner after he delivered a hilarious set of relatable jokes that slayed the room and reflected his years of experience in comedy.
Walton won a winter getaway package with ski passes and more, $250, an interview broadcast on Fuzz 92.1, and a free 10-hour recording session by TwentyFiveEight. Drummer and percussionist Fred Emmett came in a very close second place, receiving $100. It was also announced that Season 3 of Got Talent will begin in March at Thirst T’s.
For a follow-up interview with Walton, listen to Episode 41 of the NEPA Scene Podcast.
by Rich Howells
Rich is an award-winning journalist, longtime blogger, photographer, and podcast host. He is the founder and editor of NEPA Scene.