Bailey steals show in talent presentation

Authored by Jim Langham on Jul 29, 2013

A large responsive audience immediately got into the spirit of Berne’s Got Talent, a Swiss Days event at Burkhalter Auditorium on Friday evening.
Voting combined with an audience vote chose the top three choices of the unique presentations made by local individuals.
A judging panel made up of Rev. Jerry Flueckiger, Sheree Barkley, Toni Nevil and Toni Brewster, interacted with the audience, explaining their voting points in often humorous candor, following the presentation of each contestant.
Flueckiger especially set the audience off with his dry wit and humor. Following an Elvis impersonation by Jeremy Oswalt, Flueckiger, who is on the pastoral staff at First Mennonite Church, responded, “he reminds me of the worship leader at our church.”
When 2012 Miss Adams County, Kaylea Kongar, gave a gag performance of dancing and music filled with energy and wit, Flueckiger said, “That was amazing. It reminded me of one of our office secretaries, Renee.” The audience immediately responded with hardly laughter.
Judges followed by giving Kongar unusually low marks with the exception of Nevil, Kongar’s grandmother, an action which brought humorous reaction from the other judges.
At one point, Ed, Joe and Paul Fisher, Indiana congressman Matt Lehman, and Ken Fahl all came out on the stage dressed in “Lil’ Abner” type fishing attire. In the end, the group and their rendition of, “Fishin’ for Chickens,” won both judge and audience appeal and a third place finish.
In his assessment of the performance, Flueckiger said, “You’ve got two dentists with their hands in everybody’s mouth, another with his hands in the nursing home, a minister with his hand in everybody’s business and a politician with his hand in everybody’s pocket.”
In the end, it was the youthful energy of Gabe Bailey, with his accurate and impressive rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s, “Free Bird,” that captured first place in the event, with perfect scores from the judges and a strong voting response from the audience.
Rounding off the top three was a “techno base noise,” performance by Adams Central’s Sarah Fiechter. Fiechter’s sounds that had audience members hysterical with laughter, was capped off by the response of judge Toni Brewster, with an astonished look on her face, “I’ve certainly never heard anything like that before.”
Mark Neuenschwander received favorable review for his performance of, “Back Home in Indiana,” while Wilmer Sprunger won everybody’s heart with his mouth harp performance of, “In My Heart There Rings a Melody” and William Tell Overture,” (Lone Ranger theme song).
Other entries included an accordion solo by Landon Lehman, a Taylor Swift-inspired solo of, “Me,” by Megan Miller, a Broadway Style duet by Charles and Jeanne Akins, who called upon their grandchildren for assistance, an inspiration solo by Hannah Taing, piano duet by Orlyn and Lois Lehman, and a popular baseball acted skit by “Andrew, Josh, James, Brandon, Brayden, Chad, Colyn and Blaine.”
Brewster praised Bailey’s performance as, “marvelous, you connect well with the audience when you sing.”
In the end, the top three was determined by a 50/50 combination of judge’s voting and the response of the audience vote.
Floyd Liechty and Chelsea (Bollenbacher) Taylor served as moderators for the event.

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