UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | October 01, 2022

Dixie’s Got Talent brings community together

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Women, men and children of all ages filled the Cox Auditorium Thursday night and watched 24 performers battle for victory at Dixie State University’s annual show, Dixie’s Got Talent.

The talent of the 24 finalists spread across the creative spectrum. The performances ranged from vocalists, piano players and dancers to beatboxers, magicians and cowgirls and cowboys showing off their rope tricks. Dave Patterson, the president of the Dixie State University Scholarship Associates, said the night was one to remember.

“There was something for everybody,” Patterson said. “It was a truly magnificent thing. The talent at Dixie is alive and well, (and) there’s a lot of it.”

All of the proceeds were donated to the Needs Based Scholarship Fund to help DSU students in need. Patterson said the organizers are still tabulating the final amount of money received, but he estimates the event raised $8,000-10,000. He assured that every dime spent was for a great cause.

After the finalists performed, it was time to vote.

Each attendee received a red raffle ticket when purchasing a seat, and that was his or her ticket to vote. While the finalists stood on stage, the audience members called the provided number to place their vote for the winners, which ended up being 50 percent of the final decision. The other 50 percent of the results consisted of the five judges’ votes.

As the votes were gathered, the three finalists from the 2013 Dixie’s Got Talent performed to keep the audience entertained. Performers Payton Kemp, Jessie Barraclough and Cameron Hansen (respectively) played the violin and piano, and performed a hip-hop dance with back-up dancers.

The finalists were brought back on stage as the host, Shonie Christensen, held the results in her hand.

She named the third place contestant and the audience cheered as it remembered Madi Sonju’s dance to “Let it Go” from Disney’s “Frozen.” Sonju, a 19-year-old St. George local, took the third-place throne and couldn’t be happier.

“(I) didn’t expect it, but (I) feel good about it,” Sonju said. “(I) just do my best and just have fun — that’s all.”

She said she is very excited for the accomplishment, and she enjoyed her time in the process.

“My favorite part was just having fun, and whoever didn’t win, I am proud of them,” Sonju said.

Sonju walked away with a $300 check and a smile on her face.

Christensen named the second-place winner and the audience cheered as it remembered Miranda Wells’ ability to sing opera at 14 years old.

“I feel amazing,” said Wells, a St. George local. “I think it went super well, and I had lots of energy. I wasn’t really nervous, and I just feel really great. It was a great performance for me.”

Wells has had a lifetime of experience with music as she plays the flute, guitar and cello. She has a goal of performing on Broadway, singing at the Sydney Opera House, and continuing voice lessons so she can fulfill her potential.

“I just love music so much, and it inspires me every day,” Wells said.

Wells walked away with a $500 check and a grown passion for singing.

Christensen named the first-place winner and the audience cheered as it recalled 11-year-old Jayden Wyson’s hip-hop dance performance that brought audience members to their feet with applause.

“It was unreal,” Wyson said. “I was so happy. I loved it.”

Wyson taught himself his signature move, the neck and shoulder circle isolation, and has learned many other moves by attending the Vault Dance Studio, located on 175 W. 900 South.

“I’m going to hopefully do it through college (and) maybe teach some classes,” Wyson said. “And I hope to get my kids into dancing when I’m older.”

Wyson walked off the stage with a $1,000 check and was amazed at his accomplishment.

Patterson said the night turned out to be everything the organizers had hoped it would be, and there are many people to thank, including the hard-working board members who organized the event and the Dixie State University Student Alumni Association.

He said the night wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the DSUSAA, and his eyes teared up while expressing his appreciation toward the group.

“They came up with ideas that made this thing really special, and they worked their guts out,” Patterson said. “They worked so hard. They are really special. This success wouldn’t have happened, and it’s going to be bigger and better every year because we have young, fresh minds that are willing to work for a cause that’s worth the work, so we’re really grateful for them.”