VAN WERT — “Ohio Has Talent!” will return for its 13th year at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center, 10700 state Route 118, Van Wert.
This year’s show is a contest between top acts from previous years competing for the title of ”Champion of Champions.” The lineup includes Gabe Bailey, Samantha Duquette, Kaden Hohman and Sayler Wise, Dru and Michaella Johnson, Cameron Jones, Stephanie Spitnale-Souers, Scott Turner and Lauren Jean Schroeder.
Tickets are $10 to $25 by calling Community Health Professionals in Van Wert at 419-238-9223 or at the Niswonger ticket office, 419-238-6722 or www.npacvw.org.
About the performers:
Gabe Bailey – The 2017 winner of Ohio Has Talent! Is now in his senior year at South Adams High School in Berne, IN. He is still active in music; playing bass in the South Adams jazz band, drums with the worship band at his church, as part of the Lehley Stutz Experience Jazz Trio, and performing frequently in the music duo “Gabe Bailey and Rocksteady.” He also released his first album just over a year ago title, “Me Llamo, Gabe Bailey,” featuring eight original songs.
Samantha Duquette – Originally from Illinois, the 2015 winner of Ohio Has Talent! Grew up in Van Wert before relocating to Nashville, TN with her mother in 2016. She is involved in the Nashville music scene attending songwriter’s events and was a semi-finalist twice in the “Nashville Rising Song” contest. She performs regularly at The Moxy and previously performed at Tootsie’s and other downtown venues. Duquette released an original song “Crazy” two years ago and hopes to record an EP of her original music this year.
Kaden Hohman and Sayler Wise – The 2014 winners of Ohio Has Talent have been dancing together at Kim Hohman’s DanceWorks since 2009. They have won numerous awards and recognition at dance competitions throughout the years. After winning OHT, they were contacted for auditions by “America’s Got Talent” and Steve Harvey’s “Little Big Shots.” Kaden is now an eighth grader at Lincolnview Jr. High and Sayler is a freshman at Van Wert High School. They are both still love dancing and take classes in all genres.
Dru & Michaella Johnson – Michaella and Dru Johnson were 2018 OHT winners. Michaella is a 2019 graduate of Van Wert High School and is Van Wert’s reigning Peony Queen. She is a music theatre major at the University of Mobile in Alabama. Since moving to Alabama, Michaella has toured with her praise and worship band “Ignite,” and she recently played the role of Foxy in Kenny Roger’s “The Toy Shoppe.”
Dru is junior at Van Wert High school. He is a scholar athlete and plays football for the Van Wert Cougars and TractionAP, a football academy in Ft Wayne. He was part of the VWHS 2019 spring musical as “The Cat in the Hat” and will perform again in this year’s musical as “Tarzan.”
Cameron Jones – Jones strummed the guitar with a blues/rock sound to win the 2012 OHT competition. Jones is now a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a degree in exercise science.
Connor Raines – Runner-up in last year’s OHT, Connor Raines, from Lima has been playing guitar since he was five years old. Now 13, Raines has played with The Minor Blues Youth Band in the Lima area. He also performs around town opening up for other acoustic acts and at various events. He has participated and won awards in singing competitions.
Stephanie Spitnale-Souers – A Defiance native, Stephanie Spitnale-Souers was a runner-up in the 2011 OHT show. She now lives in Fort Wayne, IN and is the owner of Birch & Bell Boutique.
Scott Turner –Van Wert native Scott Turner was an OHT finalist in 2010 and 2011. Scott also composed and performed an original piece in memory of 2011 winner Shirissa Seibert, who was lost tragically in an automobile accident. Scott is a graduate of Van Wert High School and The Ohio State University. He is currently teaching music at Ayersville High School and was recently named the director of the Van Wert Boys Choir.
Lauren Jean Schroeder – Ohio Has Talent! 2019 winner, Lauren Jean (Schroeder) is not competing, but returns for an encore performance. The Celina native has been busy since last year’s show performing at local venues and on “American Idol.” She release an album of her music this month titled, “World of No Pleasing.”