Juneau: the Capital of Talent

    The 3 winners stand proud on the stage. From left to right: Host Margeauz Ljungberg, winners Noatak Post, Isaiah Unzicker, Kinley Johns, and host Stephanie Strickland.

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The sixth annual Juneau's Got Talent took place Saturday, Feb. 4th at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council.

    Isaiah Unzicker came in 1st place.

    He started playing piano when he was five years old with lessons from his mother and began singing last year.

    He performed Movement by Hozier, and it was clear he moved the audience. (A clip of his performance is attached at the bottom.)

    News of the North asked Unzicker what he likes the most about playing.

    "I would say I really like the communication that it brings between myself and whoever is listening. Especially when it's church music or a romantic song. There's just something really beautiful that's communicated there," he said.

    Unzicker commented on how it felt to win.

    "I definitely wasn't just playing to win. I just thought it'd be a fun opportunity to play around town, especially after COVID. I haven't had as many opportunities to play for people. It's just always fun to see people smile when I play. I'm just really thankful to all the judges for appreciating what I did and for all the audience for being so sweet to me."

    He might be having a classical music gig at a local art gallery this spring. Follow along on his Instagram, @isaiahunzicker.

    In 2nd place was violist Noatak Post, and 3rd place was tap dancer Kinley Johns.

    Above: Unzicker during his performance. Below: Johns swings her baton while tap-dancing. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)

    Below: Post plays his viola as the final act. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)

    Flordelino Lagundino was the director of the 15-act talent show. He shared just a glimpse of what it took to organize.

    "So many people involved. Bridget Lujan who's the Executive Director and Dawn Jouppi, who's Board President. We've been meeting together for about three months now, maybe four months now. Just thinking about what's the setup of the room going to be, how many performers are we going to have, who's going to do the bar, you know, all those types of things. Then I've been meeting with the acts for the last two weeks, helping them formalize what they're going to do. If they're like a newer performer, helping support them in getting more fluent in what they're trying to do. The application process started; I think at the end of December."

    The performers went through an audition process and the talent show Saturday was the finalists.

    Lagundino noted there was a wide variety of acts for 2023's Juneau's Got Talent.

    "Doing lots of different things, we have clowns, we have singers, we have dancers, we have violists, violinists. Even the singers are really different, we have people who are singing country, we have people that are singing heavy metal, people are singing pop. So, it's really fun."

    This year was the sixth annual Juneau's Got Talent, returning from hiatus due to the pandemic.

    Bridget Lujan, Executive Director of Juneau Dance Theatre, said this is their way of reaching out to different mediums.

    "The best part for us is that people who know Juneau Dance Theatre, know us as the dance people. So, opportunity to reach into other genres, other sectors of the community, our contestants, maybe none of them have ever even heard of The Nutcracker or seen it. They're not necessarily our patrons. They're just community members who have a passion or a hobby or a talent that they want to come showcase."

    She touched on how part of the fundraising aspect worked.

    "I think for us having the audience participate in the voting as the seventh judge in this case, we have six judges this year. It takes both, the judges have to score the act high and the audience has to like you enough to vote and spend money on you. We wanted the audience to really get involved."

    Tickets could be bought online beforehand or at the door, and voting tickets were available throughout the show.

    Some of the judges were previous winners of Juneau's Got Talent.

    Furthermore, Juneau Dance Theatre performed throughout the show.

    "We have some filler performances from our students. There's three dances where they perform and then we have another guest performance from a tap trio. It gives us time to tabulate count, do the scoring and it's fun for the audience to see, get up and vote, get a drink from McGivney's bar, or bid on the silent auction."

    Above: 9-year-old Henry Meschnark singing. Below: Roblin Gray Davis and Darius Mannino during their clown act. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)

    The next Juneau Dance Theatre event is their spring showcase coming up on Apr. 21 through the 23rd at JDHS, they will be featuring the story ballet Snow White and then mixed rep for the rest of the school and the dance team.

    Juneau Dance Theatre puts out a call for auditions for Juneau's Got Talent towards the end of each year.

    Above: Conor Lendrum and Abby Leatherman salsa dance. Below: Sammara Apango dances to Bored by Billie Eilish. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)

    Below: A clip from Unzicker's performance. 

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