For the first time in the event’s year-long history, the NEPA Scene’s Got Talent Finals Showcase for Season 4 was split into two separate finales – one for musicians and one for comedians – to make the judging portion of the contest more fair and give more local artists the chance to be recognized and win prizes. The first was the Music Finals Showcase, putting the spotlight on a diverse group of original musicians representing several different styles and genres on Tuesday, Sept. 27 on the recently renovated stage at Thirst T’s Bar & Grill in Olyphant.
For 12 weeks, audiences chose their favorite 12 musicians during the open mic portion of Got Talent, though only nine performed that night due to prior and last-minute commitments. The audience still got their money’s worth and then some as Ryan Barry, Sara Hulse and Campfire Jones, Katie Evans, Wolfe (Caelan Perez), Joe Craig, Apostolis Kal, Awnshae Smith, Adam Bailey, and Crock Pot Abduction gave it their all, leaving the judges, who each represented a different sponsor this season, to make a very close and tough call.
In the end, Apostolis Kal, a classical guitarist from Scranton, won after mesmerizing the crowd and the judges with beautiful compositions that showed off his skills while remaining catchy and accessible. He took home $250 cash; a $75 gift certificate for Magdon Music; four hours of recording time at JL Studios; a home party kit from Coors Light and LT Verrastro, Inc.; a photography and graphic design package from Jess Meoni Design; and a feature story or guest spot on an episode of the NEPA Scene Podcast.
Young Scranton singer and ukulele player Awnshae Smith came in second place, winning $50 cash and a gift certificate to Thirst T’s.
Sponsored by Coors Light, LT Verrastro, Inc., Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, Magdon Music, JL Studios, Jess Meoni Design, and Thirst T’s, NEPA Scene’s Got Talent takes the format of an open mic night and turns it into a friendly competition, inviting local musicians, comedians, poets, performance artists, magicians, actors, and more to perform on Thirst T’s stage on Tuesdays at 7 p.m.
At the end of each night, audiences who have enjoyed the free live show have the opportunity to vote for their favorite act. The two winners each week receive $25 in cash and the headlining slot for the following Tuesday, and all other performers are encouraged to compete again as often as they’d like or simply show off their talents for fun. Everyone who participates is featured weekly on nepascene.com.
Season 4 will end on Tuesday, Oct. 4 with the Comedy Finals Showcase, where the winner will receive $250 cash, a headlining Thursday night performance at Thirst T’s with a $5 cover that all goes directly to the performer, a home party kit from Coors Light and LT Verrastro, a photography and graphic design package from Jess Meoni Design, and a feature story or guest spot on an episode of the NEPA Scene Podcast.
See the photos from the Comedy Finals here.
by Rich Howells
Rich is an award-winning journalist, longtime blogger, photographer, and podcast host. He is the founder and editor of NEPA Scene.