Kids show off talent at museum fundraiser

By Julia Bayly, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 15, 2009, at 7:44 p.m.

CARIBOU, Maine — Organizers of the Kounty Kids Got Talent show know area youngsters have strong performance chops, but soon the entire country could see firsthand.

Last week, a representative from a national television show contacted the folks behind the annual event requesting a video of the Caribou production.

“I received a phone call from L.A. from a person with ‘America’s Got Talent,’ and they want a tape,” said Nancy Chandler, talent show chairwoman. “Who knows? One of these kids may make it all the way to Hollywood.”

In addition to spotlighting northern Maine talent, the Kounty Kids Got Talent show is a fundraiser for the proposed Caribou Children’s Discovery Museum.

The Caribou Children’s Discovery Museum is now a concept without a home, though the proposed museum’s board of directors does have games and exhibits it takes on the road to area festivals and fairs and an option to purchase an empty building in Caribou.

“We cannot have a children’s discovery museum without your support,” Chandler told the audience. “A museum will help revitalize downtown Caribou and serve as a tourist destination for all the people who visit Aroostook County.”

Supporters of the museum plan to use interactive exhibits to help children explore science, nature, heritage and the humanities.

“This will be a wonderful facility for families,” said Carol McElwee, children’s museum board member. “And it’s not just for Caribou; it’s for all of Aroostook County and western New Brunswick.”

Fundraisers like the talent show or the annual Chocolate Festival in February help promote the museum in the community and encourage public support and donations, McElwee said.

For performers like 6-year-old dancer Kennedy Bencivenga of Limestone, the talent show is an opportunity to strut her stuff.

According to her mother, Wendy Bencivenga, her daughter’s musical selection, “Born to Entertain,” says it all.

“It would be an understatement that she was born to entertain,” Bencivenga said as she touched up her daughter’s hair. “She’s been dancing since she was 3.”

Onstage, Devin White, 7, was doing a last-minute sound check with his electric guitar before performing a solo rendition of “Ode to Joy.”

“It’s fun,” White said. “I like it when people clap.”

Taking their act on the road for the first time was a trio of friends from Fort Kent. Jillian Roy, 11, Danielle Ouellette, 13, and Amber Devoe, 13, are the B Gurlz, and they have been doing their hip-hop dance style for several years.

“Our dance teacher thought it would be a great experience to perform here,” Devoe said. “We’re pretty excited about performing outside of Fort Kent for the first time.”

Nineteen acts took to the stage Sunday afternoon, and as far as Chandler was concerned, they were all winners.

“We wanted to showcase the kids of Aroostook County,” she said. “It’s really unbelievable — some of these kids belong in Nashville.”

Depending on how the “America’s Got Talent” producers like the video, that national fame for some of the young performers may not be far off.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/11/15/news/kids-show-off-talent-at-museum-fundraiser/ printed on September 16, 2014