The House of Hope 7th Annual Talent Show presented 10 acts, 3 judges, 2 emcees, and one very special group of women from House of Hope. All performing for a packed house, the stage show was complemented by intermission of coffee and refreshments, and before and after socializing, for a full afternoon of entertainment, fellowship, grace and celebration of sobriety.
David P. took first prize performing an original composition called “Scooter’s Song.” David has been playing music since the age of 7. He started with piano, progressed to cello, and eventually pursued his obsession of any musical instrument with strings. David is from Long Beach and says he has known good times in recovery, and low bottoms outside the rooms. Knowing what he was missing, David took the brave step of seeking help recently and is currently trudging through treatment one day at a time, bringing 30 days of sobriety to the stage.
Second Place winners were Tracy O. and Amy W. Amy performed “Lost,” saying she hopes her message of hope will touch a newcomer or another member of the sober community who needs to hear it. Tracy played with six other friends, calling themselves “The Gypsy Sound Collective,” performing “Rattlin’ Bones. Tracy said four of the other members of the band were also sober, with 52 years combined sobriety.
ABOVE: The judges facing the full house.
Third place winners were Joy W. and Brian M. Joy performed “Time Will Tell,” and says she began writing music at 13, but her addiction took over at 15. With two years sobriety now she has dived back into her music and found joy once again. Brian performed “Rodeo Blues,” saying he has been working with musicians in recovery for about 4 ½ years, with his favorite style being the blues.
The women of House of Hope delighted the audience with a flash mob style performance, popping up from the crowd and singing Pocket Full of Miracles. As they each stood and sang, they all made their way to the stage, where they performed a second song, I Smile. The crowd rose to a standing ovation after, and the rest of the performers joined them on stage for a bow before the final curtain.
Judges Chris Robbins, Dave Barge and Larcine Gantner reviewed each performance and helped the audience learn more about each performer. Emcees Johnny Bjorge and Mary McKelvey warmed the stage with their introduction of each performer, welcome to the audience, and guidance throughout the show.
Colleen Ecker surprised the audience with a special announcement that Cher had donated two premium seat tickets plus a meet and greet with Cher at her show in Las Vegas in March, opening the auction on eBay, which closed several days later and brought even more donations to the successful event.
Ed Storti, chair of the Talent Show Committee, introduced Colleen, and acknowledged the many people involved with putting the talent show on, from Bobbie Tschirgi and Myrra Stockman and Maricela Gray from the House of Hope, to Johnny Bjorge who not only emceed but also was stage director, to Carolyn Brooks and Kristin Witzenburg and Juanita Hahn who supported the committee as well.
Ed also provided special thanks to the McMillen Family Foundation and Todd Pipe, presenting sponsors, and all the sponsors who made the event possible, and who together contributed substantially to the donations for the event: Jim & Kathy Antonowitsch, Clear Recovery Center, Jan Adams, Dave Barry, Esq., Northbound Treatment Center, Pipkin Foundation, Evoke Therapy Programs, Cynthia Dunbar, Ventura Recovery, Merle Countryman, Johnny B. & Mary McK., Robert & Pam B., Thermal Club, Malibu Beach Sober Living, Bobbi Tschirgi, Elements Behavioral Health, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Kelly, Sharon & Steven H., and Lori & Tom H.