Southern Electric
LV Historical Assoc
Drama Kids
Custom Construction LLC

Stars shine in LV firmament

Stars shine in LV firmament
PAUL PRUITT/Contributor Fiddler Tyler Rakowitz garnered the most audience votes Nov. 10, earning first place in this year’s Wilson County’s Got Talent show.

The stars were out Saturday night, Nov. 10, during the much-anticipated “Wilson County’s Got Talent” show, produced by La Vernia ShoeString Stage Productions. The stars were not those in the sky, but on the stage. Talented people ranging in age from 2 years to 73 took the stage and entertained the audience in the La Vernia High School auditorium.


The Erin Jones School of Dance opened the show with 12 tiny ballerinas decked out in their pink tutus; not only did they dance a routine, but sang the lyrics of the song to which they danced. There was a fiddler; a brass quintet; a classical pianist; 16-year-old composer Ben Stevenson; male country vocalists; female pop vocalists from 5 years old to 30-something (she wouldn’t give us her age); a self-taught guitar player; a young lady who played the ukulele and sang “Jacob’s Song”; and a jazz dancer who showed such emotion when she danced.

Memorable moments

A comedian, 16-year-old Cameron Condreay, brought back the timeless comedy of Victor Borge. Cameron had the audience in stitches and those who remember Victor’s skits said he really captured the essence of the funny man.

The L.V. Brass Quintet started out their medley not on stage, but scattered about the auditorium. This untraditional, risky move paid off well by setting the mood for the audience. The quintet’s tuba player, Eric Autry, sat alone on the stage while the other members played a somber New Orleans-style piece while walking up to take their seats. Then they jumped into a “Star Wars Cantina” piece, much to the delight of the Star Wars fans in the audience. They finished with “Puttin’ On the Ritz.” La Vernia High School seniors Jon Jupe on trombone and Julie Immings on French horn, were joined by junior Cameron Condreay and freshman Josh Tubbs, both on trumpets, to make up the L.V. Brass Quintet.

Got you covered

The cover of the program was designed by Allison Freeman, a senior at La Vernia High School, one of Jenean Mills’ art students.

A total of 33 of Mills’ art students entered the contest to design the cover of the “Wilson County’s Got Talent” program. The five finalists, including Allison, were Nick Guitron, Victoria Camacho, Daniel Leija, and Brianna Kruciak. The officers and members of LV ShoeString Stage Productions selected the winner; Allison’s work was chosen and she received a prize for her entry. She was invited to take the stage during the show to receive her certificate and prize.

All the art contestants received a certificate of appreciation.

“We are so impressed with the quality of the art submitted for the contest,” LV Shoestring President Angie Puchot said.

The art was on display at Wells Fargo in La Vernia so the public could appreciate the novel, colorful designs.

Making the cut

All the performers had to audition for the show in October. Those selected had one month to prepare for the show. They had to get past a panel of four judges, including Cindy Landgrebe, Cynthia Hinojosa, Susan Cervantes, and Fraser Jones, all of whom are familiar with music and performance.

The performers for Saturday night’s show were judged by the audience. Each audience member received a ballot and was invited to vote for his or her favorite performer.

The winner is é

In third place was self-taught guitar player Shane Cadell, who sang “You Stupid Boy.” Capturing second place was Jerry Lawrence, who sang Garth Brooks’ “The Dance” so smoothly he had folks backstage dancing.

First place was awarded to 16-year-old fiddler Tyler Rakowitz, who played the fiddle so furiously that he broke a bunch of bowstrings and had the audience clapping along with him.

LV Shoestring Stage Productions thanks the artists who performed this year and the audience for coming out to support them. They also thank their sponsors, the Wilson County News, The Music Loft, and sole supporters Mary and Larry Bratten.

The sound team of Gabe Rios, Jordan Green, and Adam Poore manned the sound booth to make sure the stars sounded their best. Photographer Paul Pruitt graciously captured the artists for posterity.

DVDs of the show, recorded by Vivicom’s Dave Jagge, are available. To order a DVD, email

Drama Kids
Triple R DC Experts
Heavenly Touch Massage Therapy