Last Updated: Jan 8th, 2015 - 07:42:25

Talent on display in Colonial Heights
By Caitlin Davis, Senior Staff Writer
Feb 11, 2013, 14:29

The city of Colonial Heights had talent on display during a talent show at Colonial Heights High School on Saturday night. Performers for the night ranged from singers and dancers to piano players and rappers.

The Colonial Heights Chamber of Commerce, in a partnership with the Colonial Heights Food Pantry, put together the city’s first talent show for the community. Lori Mollnow, Executive Director for the Colonial Heights Food Pantry, said proceeds from the evening’s ticket sales were going to be split between the food pantry and chamber.

“We asked our supporters to bring a can of food or some type of food in addition,” Mollnow said.

Mollnow stood outside the auditorium on Saturday night and was all smiles as she waited for the show to start.

“We have a lot of talent,” Mollnow said of the 15 acts lined up for the evening. “...We have a little bit of everything. There’s something for everyone.”

Because of the partnership for the show, the evening started with a powerpoint presentation showcasing hunger in America by the numbers and how many people the food pantry serves on an annual basis.
photo by Caitlin Davis Alexis Ong shows her talent on piano with Mozart’s “Fantasy in D Minor”

The next acts featured Alexis Ong, a student at Colonial Heights High School, playing Mozart’s “Fantasy in D Minor” on piano and Penny Elizabeth exercising her vocal chords with “I Can Only Imagine.”

Emily Grace Harwood and Anna Elizabeth Barnes, both students at Tussing Elementary School, continued the singing with “Castle on a Cloud” and “Part of Your World.”
photo by Caitlin Davis Emily Grace Harwood takes the stage Saturday night at Colonial Heights High School and sings “Castle On a Cloud” for the audience

While the next act was also vocal, the music was of the rap persuasion. Andrew Gunter, student at Colonial Heights Middle School, and Chris Foster, a Colonial Heights resident – otherwise known as “Thunder and Lighting” – performed a Christian rap, drawing much applause and laughs from the crowd.

The duo, who have been performing together for more than two years, joined forces when Foster began coaching Gunter in football. The pair first performed a rap for a team banquet.

Gunter and Foster have also performed for Women of Worth, a national religious organization that has been formed in many local churches, at the local middle school. Foster wrote a religious rap for the performance.

Foster has been rapping since his days at Virginia Commonwealth University. He performed shows, recorded songs and had a few hits on the radio.

“I wanted to go further with it,” Foster said recalling his days behind the microphone. “Once I graduated I had a family and a regular job and that was it.”

Even though Foster now has a regular job, he and Gunter still find time to lay down a beat.
photo by Caitlin Davis Chris Foster, the Lightning of “Thunder and Lightning,” raps a song he wrote, while Andrew Gunter raps alongside him.

“It’s fun,” Foster said after his performance at the show that night. “Obviously to come up with a lot of material takes time.”

The song that night, Foster said, took about an hour and a half to compose — much longer than it took to come up with their stage name, “Thunder and Lighting.” Foster said when Mollnow called to get the name for the program, his wife gave him the idea, since Foster’s nickname for Gunter on the team is “Thunder Gunter.”

The thunder half of the duo said he, too, was excited to be on stage that night.

“I really like [rapping],” Gunter said. “Especially when I have someone on my side.”

The first act of the night ended with two students from Colonial Heights Middle School. Meike Haskins brought soul to “Rumor Has It” and Sonali Luther danced to “Dance Barso Re.”

Bill Bowman, who served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening and who is a Broadcasting Hall of Fame member, said the night was important to the city.

“So as you can see, Colonial Heights does have talent,” Bowman said. “Many times you’re not able to hear it. Programs like this help create talent.”
photo by Caitlin Davis Roger Green, Executive Director of Colonial Heights Cahmber of Commerce sings “The Impossible Dream” to two interesting characters at the talent show

The second act opened with Roger Green, Executive Director for the Colonial Heights Chamber of Commerce, singing “The Impossible Dream.” He said his dream was to be a lounge singer, among other things.

“I would like to make this a yearly thing,” Green said.

A Colonial Heights resident of 40 years, Mary Beasley, sat behind the piano for the second act as she played “Bach to Boogie.” The talent of instrument playing continued as Tyler Wilcox, student at Colonial Heights High School, played “Carnival of Venice” on Euphonium.

Casey Bowman Miles, a graduate of Colonial Heights High School, brought even more soul to the auditorium as she sang “Sweet Child of Mine.” The Last Soulbenders, a dance group from the Richmond Outreach Center, showcased their footwork as they performed a dance mix.

The night ended with Katelyn McCarter singing “Free From Me.” McCarter is a Christian recording artist and performer. In 2011, McCarter traveled to Nashville, Tenn. to record her first single with Jim Cooper, from the group “Petra.” In 2012, she signed on with record label Dreamin’ Out Loud Entertainment. Most recently, McCarter graduated from VCU’s School of Music with her concentration in opera.

“I wanted to do this my whole life, ever since I can remember,” McCarter said of singing. “I worked really hard and it pays off in the end.”

McCarter, 24, is focusing her efforts on exploring all genres of Christian music, with her song that evening being focused more on country.

“I found God is the most important aspect in my life,” McCarter said. “So he laid it on my heart so I surround my music and singing around Him.”
photo by Caitlin Davis Katelyn McCarter sings the Christian country music song “Free From Me.”

McCarter is now looking to the next chapter in her music career as she travels to Nashville to record her first full album in March of this year and said the album will be released later this year.

“You always trust God. You always put your best foot forward and give it your all,” McCarter said. “You will get what you want.”

Copyright © 2004 - present