The 2016 House of Hope Talent Show held October 9th at the Armstrong Theater in Torrance exceeded its goal for funds raised for scholarships, surpassing 2015 efforts. The show delivered an afternoon of entertainment enjoyed by hundreds of attendees in a packed house.
The winner of the competition was Sina, a dancer who lit up the stage with fresh exciting dance moves set to a medley of high energy electronic and hip hop music. Winning first place included a cash prize as well as recognition from judges and audience alike.
Sina was born and raised in Sacramento California. He started using drugs and alcohol at the young age of 16 and quickly noticed how powerless he was over substances. His sobriety date is January 22, 2014.
“Do you know what I love most about being sober?” commented Sina after the big win. “Being able to do the things I couldn’t do when I was drinking and using. I couldn’t compete in dance competitions because I was always getting loaded, not to mention how beat up and sick I was from all the drug and alcohol abuse. Thanks to the program of AA, I now have a better life and I am able to give hope to those who need it, just like those who came before me who gave me hope. The prize money is going towards a deposit for the new house that my roommates and I are moving into at the end of November. Thank you to the House of Hope for giving me the opportunity to share my passion with everyone.”
Also winning the competition were: 2nd place tie – Michelle L., and John S., 3rd place tie – Charles S. and Michael Y.
Judges Chris R., Dave B., and Larcine G
Judges Chris R., Mary McB., and Dave B., who hold over 80 years of sobriety between them, exchanged comments with every performer at the end of their act, reminiscent of reality TV shows like “America’s Got Talent.”
“It’s hard to judge because there is so much talent on that stage, and it’s all coming from the heart, yet you have to put some kind of hierarchy to it,” said judge Mary McB. “As a judge right up on stage with the artists, the energy of who each performer is just reaches your heart and breaks it open. I thought the commentary would be difficult, since the judges have no time to talk to each other, but the thoughts just flow as you connect with each artist while they perform. If I have any advice to future performers it would be to just be yourself as much as you can be. The freshest performances up there are people being unique and exactly who they are.”
The Talent Show is key to House of Hope as it is the sole fundraiser throughout the year; all proceeds are directly applied to scholarships for women who would otherwise be unable to receive treatment. It could not be accomplished without the support of generous sponsors: McMillen Foundation & Todd Pipe, Our Friends, Serenity Lodge, Candace Malloy, The Silk Family Foundation, Kristy Parker, Crail Johnson Foundation, Evoke Therapy Programs, Transcend, Dave Germann, Greg Kazarian, Johnny B. & Mary McB, Robert & Pam B, Our Friends in Washington, Darla Darnell, Brian & Tara Hower, Northbound Treatment, and Clear Recovery Center, and several who wish to remain anonymous.
Bobbie Tschirgi, Executive Director of House of Hope, took a moment to thank the sponsors, as well as House of Hope Chairman Ed Storti. “I want to say Thank You publicly to the man whose vision and tremendous hard work and endless hours of dedication have made this possible, our Chairman Ed Storti,” said Bobbi. “This event was Ed’s vision to help House of Hope women without financial resources to receive treatment. He has worked tirelessly for five years using his skills, influence and tenacity to bring sponsors, advertisers and donors to grow this event to what it is today.”
After a thorough set of auditions, 14 acts were chosen to perform in the final day of the competition. Bill K. opened with a dance performance “The Sunny Side of the Street,” followed by Revelations performing “Allies,” an original piece about positivity through recovery. Michelle L. then sang “Stuff Like That There;” after which Elias S. whipped out the classical violin and performed “Presto” from Sonata No 1 of 6 Sonatas and “artitas for Unaccompanied Violin” by J.S. Bach. Taylor J. performed an original composition “Brush with the Highway Patrol, then Sina energized the stage with his solo dance performance. Willis M. perfomed “Hold On” with his band, and Natalie Ford Brown Band followed with “Something Greater.”
Audience members then enjoyed a brief intermission with refreshments provided by Northbound Treatment. Following intermission, House of Hope Executive Director Bobbi Tschirgi thanked all the people who worked so hard for months on end planning the show, as well as the numerous financial contributors and supporters. She then gave a touching recognition to Jim Morrow, Drug and Alcohol Counselor, recognizing him for his dedication to the House of Hope mission and as a valued member of the San Pedro-based recovery center staff.
The second act began with an acoustic folk punk band performance of “Devils Waiting Room” by Darky Dark and the Junkie Bunch, then James G. tamed the audience by reciting an original poetic piece “Amorous Cancerous Lips.” Harmony H. brought back the music, an 11-year old singer whose parents are both in recovery, performing “Hopelessly Devoted.” Michael Y. / Streetlight Cadence added another musical number, performing an original composition titled, “More Than You Know.” Charles S. broke the music trend by putting the audience in stitches with his comedy act. Finally Blind Seven band closed it out with “I Just Dropped in” by Mickey Newbury.
While the judges deliberated the House of Hope women performed “The Way You Look Tonight” and “Ngiculela (Es Una Historia) – I am Singing.”