LACONIA — After the Veterans Day ceremonies and speeches are over on Sunday, there’s another way to show appreciation and support for local veterans – by attending the inaugural Vets Got Talent show, which will kick off at 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Held at Pitman’s Freight Room on New Salem Street in Laconia, Vets Got Talent is raising funds for Camp Resilience, a local nonprofit organization that provides retreat and counsel to veterans suffering from “the visible and invisible wounds of war.” Tickets will be sold at the door for $20 each; Pitman’s is a bring-your-own-food-and-drinks venue.
Kitty Boyle, who conceived of and is organizing the talent show, said she got the idea while talking with her husband, Kevin, about ways to help the organization.
“Kevin is involved in fund raising for Camp Reslisience, we’re both amateur musician type people. It just sounded like a fun idea, to bring people together who know about Camp Resilience, to have fun and to be entertained.”
For a first event, the show has gotten off to a strong start. Boyle was able to collect enough sponsorships to cover all of the costs, so every dollar collected from ticket sales and the 50-50 raffle will benefit Camp Resilience.
And, after auditions were held in September, Boyle said the field was winnowed down to eight acts – just about the right amount for a talent show.
As it happened, all of the acts who made it through the audition were singer-songwriters, most from the Lakes Region but a few from just a little farther away: Jack Polidoro; Audrey Drake; Don Bartenstein; Larry Fernald and Mike English; Percy Hill; Natalie Hebden and Steve Hayden; Franz Haase, and; Rory Scott.
The performers represent a mix of both veterans and people who are immediately related to veterans. Boyle said each act will perform two songs.
“I gave them free reign, I said, ‘Don’t be political,’” she said.
Audience members can register their support via the applause-o-meter, which ranges from “Good” to “Wowza!” Winners will be selected by a panel of experts: Nancy Berry, of Interlakes Summer Theater; Jim Rogato, a member of the Rockin’ Daddios, and; vocalist and Miss Winnipesaukee Brooke Mills. Pat Kelly, well-known radio personality, will serve as the master of ceremonies.
The judges will pick which act will take home first prize of $300, second prize of $200 and third place, $100.
Judging by how responsive the community has been to this event, Boyle predicted that “Vets Got Talent” will become a Lakes Region’s Veterans Day tradition.
“We’re hoping that this year will turn out well, we’re also hoping that this will turn into an annual thing,” she said.