Friday, May 25, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 12

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on May 14th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 10 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 15, Issue 10

Hobnobbing With Helen


Talented—and gutsy—Santa Marians sang, danced, and played musical instruments at the fifth annual Santa Maria Has Talent contest sponsored by the Rotary Club of Santa Maria South.

Getting up on stage and performing can be scary and daunting, but a slew of contestants of all ages pulled it off in a three-day event held on the evenings of May 8, 9, and 10 at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Santa Maria.

The winner—Isaiah Guerrero, who composed his own piano piece, “Sonata in G Minor”—took home a $1,000 check.

The hostess with the mostess, also known as the goddess of glam, Roxanne Ventriglia did her thing (show host and emcee) for the fifth time in a row.

This year, for the first time, her hosting cohort was Ryan Miller, a versatile fellow with showbiz in his soul. He is also, full disclosure, executive editor of the Santa Maria Sun and SLO New Times newspapers. And, I hasten to add, runner-up in the 2012 Santa Maria Has Talent event. He sings, he dances, he writes, he edits—what can I tell you?

Co-hosts Ryan Miller and Roxanne Ventriglia confer during intermission at the Thursday, May 8, Santa Maria Has Talent show, a nighttime Rotary fundraiser.

Also for the fifth year in a row, artistic director Diane Balay was in charge of auditions. Assisted by show director Georgia Shore (full disclosure: she is general manager of the Sun and no slouch on stage), Balay considered the performances of those who tried out and selected the top 100.

Yes! There were 100 contestants this year.

“This is the most we have ever had,” an effervescent Balay, reported.

Some of the performers were repeaters. They are hooked on the competition and the opportunity to shine on stage.

Rotary members on hand were Anne Green, who flew in from Las Vegas, Ken and Diane Parker (Ken is the current president), Jane Kakkonis, Pat Haley, and David Bixby.

I went on Thursday, May 8, when the line-up was loaded with school-age children, most of them seemingly in the eighth grade at various schools around town.


Women’s Network Trade Show

The merry month of May is truly very merry in Santa Maria. There is so much going on!

Hobnobbing missed the Breakfast Rotary Barn Party held on Saturday, May 10, which was reportedly its usual hugely successful self, according to someone who was wowed by all the silent auction items.

Jesse Booher met up with his dad, Mark, who is artistic director of PCPA. Jesse played the keyboard and sang “Where I Belong” in the Thursday, May 8, part of the Santa Maria Has Talent show held at the Veterans Memorial Hall.

But I was able to catch the Women’s Network annual Trade Show, held on Wednesday, May 7, at the Santa Maria Inn. This was a treasure trove of information gathering and networking.

A complimentary buffet table with chicken tenders, fruit, cheese and crackers, and coffee and iced tea was available.

Network president Michelle Shipman and Mary Hernandez, chairperson for vendors, were pleased with the response and turnout.

“All our vendor spaces were spoken for,” Hernandez told me.

I spotted Myra Mitchum at the Rabobank table, Lorene Dyson at the Altrusa table, and Debi Cloud at her space. Debi reports that her graphic design business has attracted quite a few self-publishing authors who are in need of book covers. “These are fun to do,” Debi says.

As I waved hello to Sandra Dickerson of Your People Professionals, I listened in on a conversation including Patty Elswick, who recently modeled for Saks Fifth Avenue of Santa Barbara at a fundraiser at the Biltmore.

Modeling at the Biltmore—now that’s entertainment!


If you want to hobnob with Helen, you may contact her at

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