Darien Arts Center crowns winners at Darien’s Got Talent

This year’s  Darien’s Got Talent winners — Anton and Joseph Klettner, left, second place, children; Grace Herbert, second place, adult; Erick Sanchez (in rear) third place, adult; Isabelle Seeman, People’s Choice Award; Mia and Kai Sparks, third place, children’s and Tom Giles (in rear) first place, adult.

Twenty-one finalists from Darien and neighboring towns gave it their all onstage,in the Darien Arts Center’s June 23 fund-raiser, Darien’s Got Talent. Competing acts from Darien, Westport, Norwalk, Stamford, New Canaan, Trumbull, Port Chester, South Salem, Bridgeport and Greenwich included singers, dancers, and musicians that awed both the audience at Darien High School and the panel of judges, making the selection of winners a difficult one.

Entertainment judges included Jane Bergère, Pat Gorman, Carolyn Paine, Ereka Vetrini and Chloe Bodt Sasson. After much deliberation, six winners were chosen from the adult and children’s categories. A People’s Choice Award was given to the finalist with the most online votes in the online portion of the benefit.

Tom Giles took first place in the adult category for his original piano composition, Skedaddle. second place for the adults went to Grace Herbert for her ukulele and vocal performance of Percy Mayfield’s Hit the Road Jack, and Erick Sanchez took third place for his operatic performance of Questa a Quella by composer Giuseppe Verdi. Nine-year-old Cary Wang took first prize in the children’s category for his piano performance of Brillante, Op. 34, No.3 and brothers Anton and Joseph Klettner received second place for their violin and piano duet of Freddie Mercury’s Don’t Stop Me Now. Third place in the children’s category was awarded to Mia and Kai Sparks for their piano duet of Le Pas Espanol, Op. 56, No. 6. Isabelle Seeman received the DAC’s People Choice Award.

Seasoned director Carole Claps orchestrated the evening’s performances seamlessly, with the skillful help of Chris Coogan as musical director and Raymond G. Michaud as master of ceremonies, organizers reported. During the judges deliberations, a slideshow of entries from the DAC’s smartphone photo contest, Pic Darien was screened. Executive Director Amy Allen thanked sponsors, producers and the crowd for their support, and invited all to enjoy the Darien Arts Center’s offerings.

First place children’s winner of Darien’s Got Talent, Cary Wang.

One hundred fifty guests, including sponsors, winners and judges attended the exclusive post show party, Darien’s Got Taste, enjoying cuisine, entertainment by pianist and Darien High School 2018 graduate Jonathan Kim and celebrating with winners. Donors to Darien’s Got Taste included Atria, Aux Delices, Blue Wave Taco, Cesco’s, Chocolate Works, Crunch Fitness, Fisherman’s Net, Fjord Fisheries, Height’s Pizza, Meatball and Co., Michael Josephs, Scena Wine Bar, The Goose, Trader Joe’s, Uncle’s Deli and Whole Foods.

Baywater Properties, Maplewood, Shipman and Goodwin, Janney, The Darien Sport Shop, Dr. Rhett Drugge, ERI Builders, Dana Fead, Realtor, Moffly Media, David Osherow, DDS, Palmer’s Market, The Pawprint Market, Ring’s End, Total Printing, Darien Athletic Foundation and Andrew Stefanou Salon and Spa generously sponsored the fundraiser, which supports the DAC’s efforts in providing opportunities for all ages in dance, visual arts, music and theater. For more information about the center, at 2 Renshaw Road, behind Town Hall, visit darienarts.org or call 203-655-8683