Villagers’ Showcase of Talent raises money for local music scholarships

Diana and Joe Arlt launched a monthly Showcase of Talent to showcase local talent and contribute to well-deserved scholarships for young performers.

Both goals were achieved on Friday night at the La Hacienda Recreation Center. A diverse blend of village singers performed country songs, and more importantly, Mr. and Mrs. Alt donated her $1,800 to The Village Opera Club.

A similar donation was made to the Villages Jazz Club. Since his Showcase of Talent launched almost nine years ago, Arlts has raised nearly $100,000 of his money for local music scholarships.
“We will do everything we can to help young people make music,” said Diana Alt.
“This means a lot to us,” said Pearl Kosa, co-chair of the Opera Club’s Scholarship Committee. “We are helping young people follow their dreams.”

Joe Alto (right) and his wife Diana presented a donation to Pearl Kosa of The Opera Club of the Village

Showcases aren’t just for young talent, though. Music Villager found his resource to showcase major performances.
“I would love to continue playing live music in the Village,” she said. “When I started working here 19 years ago, the opportunity to sing in front of people was rare. We want to give local talent the chance to show what they can do. It was an opportunity.”

Georgian Hill sang Barbara Mandrell's song 'Years'
Georgian Hill sang the song “Years” by Barbara Mandrell.

Georgian Hill took the opportunity to sing Barbara Mandrell’s number “Years”. Hill brought his emotional power to his songs. The same goes for Lee Howard’s Two Sparrows in a Hurricane, first drawn by Tanya Tucker.
Joe Di Leo rocked the crowd with a deep, spicy take on Josh Turner’s “Your Man.” Frank Marchitteri turned into Merle Haggard in “Ramblin’ Fever.”

Joe Di Leo wowed audiences with his version of Your Man
Joe Di Leo wowed the audience with his version of “Your Man.”

BJ Odendahl brought Patsy Cline’s ‘Back In Baby’s Arms’ to life, and Dee Hart followed suit with ‘Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue’.

Talent Showcase isn’t just about singing. Several dance groups kicked up country heel. Off Her Broadway Players wore blue and white outfits and danced to “Country Girl,” while the Classy Dazzlers shone to “Cowboy Her Casanova.”

Classy Dazzlers fell in love with Cowboy Casanova's song
The Classy Dazzlers fell in love with the song “Cowboy Casanova”.

Michael and Lena Bonczek, known as Sisel, had fun while dancing and singing “He Drinks Tequila.” Speaking of drinking, Oscar Lovering carried around beer cans in his number “Pretty Good At Drinking Beer.”

Tony Violanti is Art and Music at He was inducted into the Buffalo NY Music Hall of Fame as a music journalist.

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