The performers buzzed with pre-show excitement. Guitars were tuned, dancing shoes adorned — each Fieldston Middle student performing in the talent show was ready for their big moment. But this year’s show looked a little different from those from past years: Due to the current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, for the first time ever, the talent show was virtual. Each performer recorded their act in their own home, and the audience watched the talent show on video.
The virtual format didn’t stop the students from shining. Rohann M. ’25 kicked off the show with his rendition of “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith. Singing and playing the piano, Rohann delivered an emotional performance. “I am super thankful that we had the show,” he says. “It was a fun and enjoyable way to be creative.” Unlike with a live show, the virtual format gave students the opportunity to perfect their act before submitting the video. “I spent hours recording,” says Rohann. “I really liked the process.”
Kieran E. ’24, who played an impressive piano piece by Schumann, was happy he had the opportunity to share his talent with his classmates. Even though he has played piano for eight years, Kieran still appreciated the low pressure environment of performing at home, calling it “less stressful.”
Not every act was musical: Niya K. ’26 danced the salsa and bachata, a big smile on her face as she moved to the music. And halfway through the show, Alden H. ’24 appeared on screen and announced he would be showing the audience some of his favorite tricks to perform — with fire. His act came with a lighthearted warning written across the screen: “These tricks are very dangerous if not performed properly. Do not attempt (unless you like to have fun).” For two minutes, Alden displayed head-scratching and awe-inspiring tricks: He held a ball of fire in his hand, ate a fire-soaked cotton ball, and blew flames five feet into the air.
Alden took advantage of the virtual format to showcase a talent he wouldn’t have been allowed to perform indoors. “I had been thinking of doing these tricks at a talent show for some time,” he says. “This virtual show was the perfect opportunity for me. My favorite part was being able to show my peers some of the cool stuff that I can do that I would have not been able to do in school.”
It wasn’t only students who had the opportunity to shine: A few Fieldston Middle teachers shared their talents as well. In some cases, even animal assistants were given the spotlight. Science Teacher Stephanie Wyman shared the talents of her cat, The Amazing Bamboo, who performed tricks, such as twirling and high-fiving, on command.
In another example of innovation, Math Teacher Stuart Quart used the video format as a chance to play a game. He challenged the audience to spot him in the background of an old television commercial — a fun experience that would not have worked during a live show.
One student used the talent show as a chance to thank all of the frontline workers around the world who are combating the pandemic. Ariana S. ’25 wrote an original song, “Sacrifice.” “I wanted others to feel moved and acknowledge the sacrifice that others have to make in order for lives to be saved,” she explains. Ariana has played piano for eight years, but she only recently took up songwriting. “Every song I write, my lyrics and the music itself seem to improve. So I just keep writing and writing,” she says.
Ariana missed the experience of performing in front of a live audience, but she was grateful for the opportunity to be creative. “Although this wasn't a typical talent show, I was still able to display one of my greatest passions in life and what gives me the most joy,” she says. While performing music is something she does to make herself happy, by writing a song dedicated to frontline workers, Ariana used her talents to spread joy to others during a challenging time.
“Writing a song is a way of expressing myself,” she says. “This time, I was saying thank you.”
Check out the Fieldston Middle talent show below!