Ones to Watch: The Stars of Kids VT's Spectacular Spectacular 2022 at Higher Ground | Performing Arts | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
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Ones to Watch: The Stars of Kids VT's Spectacular Spectacular 2022 at Higher Ground

Published November 30, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated November 30, 2022 at 11:19 a.m.


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Some big names have graced the Ballroom stage at Higher Ground in South Burlington over the past few years, including Norah Jones, They Might Be Giants, Ani DiFranco, Lyle Lovett, Bon Iver, Rough Francis, the Avett Brothers and Grace Potter. After this Saturday, December 3, that list will include the stars of the 2022 Spectacular Spectacular.

Since 2014, Seven Days and our parenting publication, Kids VT, have been organizing this talent show that gives Vermont's rising stars a chance to shine. All acts must audition for a slot. The winners get to appear at the event.

In 2020 and 2021, everyone performed via video on WCAX-TV, but this year we're thrilled to see and hear them in person. This year's performers, ages 9 to 15, will travel from across the state to sing, dance, drum and beatbox on the same stage as the pros. Come cheer them on!

The show starts at noon on Saturday, December 3; it's sponsored by Skinny Pancake, Davis Studio and McKenzie. Tickets are $7 in advance or $10 on the day of the show; kids 6 and under get in free.

Grayson Eley

11, Duxbury
Playing a drum mix of two songs by For King and Country
Grayson Eley - COURTESY
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  • Grayson Eley

If you were an animal, what type would you be and why?
An octopus because then I could play multiple instruments at once!

Where is your favorite place to go in Vermont?
Lake St. Catherine: The fishing there is spectacular!

What do you want to be when you grow up?
My dream would be to become a professional musician or a Broadway star!

Lili Diemer

15, Shelburne
Singing "Moonlight" by Ariana Grande
Lili Diemer - COURTESY
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  • Lili Diemer

If you could duet with a famous performer, who would it be?
Ariana Grande — I find it amazing that she never had formal training, yet she has a four-octave vocal range.

Where is your favorite place to go in Vermont?
The Northeast Kingdom, especially during foliage season.

If you were an animal, what type would you be and why?
A peacock, because they're quiet and unassuming until it is time to perform.

Adim Benoit

10, Montpelier
Playing "Maple Leaf Rag" by Scott Joplin on piano
Adim Benoit - COURTESY
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  • Adim Benoit

What or who inspires you?
I am inspired by two of my music teachers: J.D. Williams, my piano teacher of five years, and Kirk Kreitz, my jazz band and band teacher at school.

What makes you laugh?
I laugh at silly jokes, witty humor and some videos.

If you could duet with a famous performer, who would it be?
If I could duet with a famous person, it would be Scott Joplin! I think he's a great performer in "The Entertainer."

Blake Von Sitas

11, Fairfax
Playing the guitar and singing an original song called "A Thousand Miles/Just Let Go"
Blake Von Sitas - COURTESY
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  • Blake Von Sitas

Describe your act in one word.
Strong.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A teacher, a singer, a traveler — I want to be wherever the wind blows me.

What or who inspires you?
The people around me inspire me. Jane Goodall and my parents inspire me and people who stand up for what is right and make a difference.

Lydia Bearsch and Emeline Brown

10 and 10, Montpelier
Singing "Walk a Mile" by Jan Nigro
Lydia Bearsch and Emeline Brown - COURTESY
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  • Lydia Bearsch and Emeline Brown

Where is your favorite place to go in Vermont?
Lydia: The Cabot Cheese Factory.
Eme: Ben and Jerry's.

If you could duet with a famous performer, who would it be?
Lydia: Carol Burnett.
Eme: Beyoncé.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Lydia: Architect or teacher.
Eme: Engineer or teacher.

Cady Murad

11, Burlington
Singing "Princess" from Big Block SingSong
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  • Cady Murad

If you could duet with a famous performer, who would it be?
Lin-Manuel Miranda.

What or who inspires you?
Brickmaster Amy Corbett from "LEGO Masters." She has that 'wow' factor!

Describe your act in one word.
Princess!

Abe Doherty and Tate Charuk

11 and 12, Burlington
Playing and singing "Heart of Gold" by Neil Young
Abe Doherty and Tate Charuk - COURTESY
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  • Abe Doherty and Tate Charuk

If you could duet with a famous performer, who would it be?
Abe: Juice WRLD.
Tate: Kendrick Lamar.

What or who inspires you?
Abe: Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson.
Tate: Good beats.

Where is your favorite place to go in Vermont?
Abe and Tate: Bolton Valley!

Andre Redmond

10, Essex Junction
Singing "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" by Stevie Wonder
Andre Redmond - COURTESY
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  • Andre Redmond

Describe your act in one word.
Soulful.

Where is your favorite place to go in Vermont?
Bolton Valley.

If you were an animal, what type would you be and why?
I would be a black panther because of their agility, strength and endurance.

Oliver Lee

9, Hinesburg
Performing a magic trick
Oliver Lee - COURTESY
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  • Oliver Lee

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A video game designer.

What makes you laugh? "The Simpsons."

If you were an animal, what type would you be and why? An octopus because they have three hearts, a huge brain, squirt ink, change their shape, change color and can fit through any hole bigger than their beak.

Alyce Ayer

9, Bolton
Singing "Jolene" by Dolly Parton
Alyce Ayer - COURTESY
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  • Alyce Ayer

If you were an animal, what type would you be and why?
A lemur because I like climbing and I want to have a long tail.

If you could duet with a famous performer, who would it be?
Brandi Carlile or Taylor Swift.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Actress.

Grace Mical

11, Middlebury
Performing a contortionist act with a spider theme
Grace Mical - COURTESY
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  • Grace Mical

What makes you laugh?
My siblings make me laugh every day.

If you were an animal, what type would you be and why?
I would love to be a horse. They are so beautiful and majestic.

If you could duet with a famous performer, who would it be?
I would love to perform with Anna McNulty. She's a very talented contortion artist.

Evie Mangat and Sydney Coppola-Dyer

10 and 11, Essex
Singing and acting out "What Is This Feeling?," a musical number from Wicked
Evie Mangat and Sydney Coppola-Dyer - COURTESY
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  • Evie Mangat and Sydney Coppola-Dyer

What or who inspires you?
Evie: Broadway musicals inspire me, especially Wicked because it's the first musical that I fell in love with.
Sydney: Stories about people who defy the odds to succeed, such as Eliza's story from Hamilton and Elphaba's story from Wicked.

Where is your favorite place to go in Vermont?
Evie: The Flynn.
Sydney: Very Merry Theatre.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Evie: Actor, singer, performer.
Sydney: Interior designer, therapist or actress.

Charlie Schramm

14, Shleburne
Playing the guitar and singing an original song called "Drink the Air"

Charlie Schramm - COURTESY
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  • Charlie Schramm

If you were an animal, what type would you be and why?
I'd be a wolf because I can be a lone wolf but I can also run with a pack.

If you could duet with a famous performer, who would it be?
Paul McCartney.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A famous musician.

Piper Hall

13, East Hardwick
Playing the guitar and singing an original song called "U Happy?"
Piper Hall - COURTESY
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  • Piper Hall

If you were an animal, what type would you be and why?
A dog, definitely, because when I get excited I act like a puppy.

What or who inspires you?
Taylor Swift inspired me to start writing songs, and my parents introduced me to music at a young age (since I was born), so both of them.

Where is your favorite place to go in Vermont?
Higher Ground.

Matthew Mallory

13, Essex Junction
Playing guitar — a mostly homemade B.C. Rich Warlock-copy — to "Master of Puppets" by Metallica
Matthew Mallory - COURTESY
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  • Matthew Mallory

Describe your act in one word.
Power!

If you were an animal, what type would you be and why?
I love cats, but I wouldn't want to be one. Being a human fits me quite well.

If you could duet with a famous performer, who would it be?
Metallica's James Hetfield — it's likely I would learn a lot from his awesome playing. I'd also appreciate his insight on guitar setups.

Jeremy Holzhammer

14, East Middlebury
Performing an original piece of electronic music that he composed and produced
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  • Jeremy Holzhammer

Describe your act in one word.
Face-melting.

Where is your favorite place to go in Vermont?
Burlington Records.

What makes you laugh?
Awkward silences.

René Simakaski

11, Peacham
Playing a jazzy tune of his own creation on electric guitar, using a loop machine
René Simakaski - COURTESY
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  • René Simakaski

Describe your act in one word.
Jazzy.

What or who inspires you?
The idea of music, which is more vivid than I can describe.

If you were an animal, what type would you be and why?
I would be a panther because they are sleek and cool.

Nick Carpenter

14, Middlebury/Orwell
Beatboxing
Nick Carpenter - COURTESY
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  • Nick Carpenter

Describe your act in one word.
Unearthed.

If you were an animal, what type would you be and why?
I would be a cheetah because they are fast and they are cute.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A professional beatboxer.

Caroline Clayton

10, Colchester
Singing and playing piano to "All of Me" by John Legend
Caroline Clayton - COURTESY
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  • Caroline Clayton

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be a singer and also to rescue animals.

What or who inspires you?
Getting lost in piano and feeling the music vibrate through your body like you're in your own world.

Where is your favorite place to go in Vermont?
Burton Island.

Violet Lambert and Niko Vukas

10 and 11, Monkton
Singing and playing piano and ukulele to "Hideaway" by Grace VanderWaal
Violet Lambert and Niko Vukas - COURTESY
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  • Violet Lambert and Niko Vukas

If you were an animal, what type would you be and why?
Violet: I would be an owl because I could fly and turn my head 360 degrees.
Niko: I would be a hawk so I could fly everywhere and see far distances.

Describe your act in one word.
Violet: Smashing.
Niko: Good.

What makes you laugh?
Violet: My grandpa.
Niko: My little sister mispronouncing words and goofing off with my family and friends.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Introducing the Spectacular Performers"