By Indiana Nash
NISKAYUNA — Close to 70 Hillside Elementary students took the stage April 1 to perform in the talent show, along with a few teachers and administrators.
Acts ranged from solo demonstrations to large group performances of students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The opening act featured a large group of students dancing to “Uptown Funk.” These acts were coordinated by volunteers, including some high school students who are Hillside graduates.
Throughout the show, students presented a variety of talents. Brennan Bosco, a second-grader, broke five wooden boards in a martial arts demonstration. Ella Nish, a fifth-grade student, performed a ballet routine. Jack Helstowski, a third-grader, hit the stage with a magic trick demonstration. Other groups brought rock band performances or comedy skits to the show. The final act included Emma Cornish and Emily DeSoyza singing “Happy” by Pharrell Williams with the rest of the performers dancing in the background.
The event has been in the works since December, with PTO members working with parents, teachers, students, and administrators. “It was an amazing event. I’m still smiling about it!” said Susan Polsinelli, a Hillside parent and one of the event’s organizers. Due to the amount of coordinating and planning that goes into a talent show of this size and magnitude, it happens only when the “right team” comes along, said Polsinelli. About twenty parents came together to make the event happen, along with a handful of teachers and administrators.
Ken Choi, a parent of Hillside students and a PTO member, first proposed organizing the talent show and the idea gained support from fellow parents and administrators. “Without this team, we wouldn’t have been able to put it all together,” said Polsinelli.
Administrators kept the school open after hours so that group performers could get together and practice. These acts allowed students who were unsure of what to perform or who were too nervous to take the stage on their own to participate in the show. Many of the performances were choreographed by Sarah Spindler, the PTO vice president and a parent, along with high school volunteers Shannon Foley and Meaghan Kehoe.
There were also a few acts preformed solely by Hillside teachers and staff. One was an aquatic themed comedy/dance skit by Darryl Bray, Wade Fisher, Chris Lasher and Shaun Neel. There was also an act that featured a family feud-themed skit, a rock band act called “The Final Countdown,” and “Text Analysis,” an act performed by Principal Shirenn Fasciglione, librarian Deb Ubriaco and teaching assistant Kathleen Mancuso.
“It was a ton of work to put this show together, but I am grateful that we, the Hillside Community, did this,” said Polsinelli.
“[The students] worked so hard and it was a community-building event of multiage participants with diverse talents … It may be a contributing factor of why Niskayuna ranks so highly in most “happy” places to live!” said Rachelle Kehoe, another organizer of the show.