Monday, April 23, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 7

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on March 6th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 52 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 13, Issue 52

Hobnobbing with Helen


Gotta dance! Gotta sing!

That was surely the mantra of those who tried out for the Rotary Talent Show, which will be held April 11 to 13 at the Veterans Memorial Hall.

Flamenco guitarist in disguise:
Classical guitarist and teacher Manny Mestas posed in costume after his audition for the Rotary Talent Show.

Quite a few from the area (which includes Santa Maria and points north, south, east, and west) turned out on Feb. 23 and 24 at the Orcutt Presbyterian Church on Patterson Road to audition for this annual event.

For the fourth year in a row, the nighttime Rotary, also known as Rotary South, is giving those with stars in their eyes a chance to shine on stage.

Rotary South runs the show both as a community service project and as a fundraiser. Their Santa Maria Has Talent! provides a venue for performers who want stage experience and the opportunity to showcase their talent, be it singing, dancing, juggling, comic sketches, or playing an instrument.

I truly believe that if you are a competent snake charmer or sword swallower, they would give you a shot. Rotary South just plain likes talent.

Solo performance:
Carina Avila of Arroyo Grande took a refreshing pause after her modern dance audition in the Orcutt Presbyterian courtyard. She tried out, successfully, for the Rotary Talent Show to be held April 11, 12, and 13 at the Veterans Memorial Building.

They offer performance opportunities to all types of entertainers, except bands.

So, what’s on tap for this year’s show? We hobnobbed at the Feb. 23 audition and talked to two terrific talents.

Outside, in the church courtyard, exuding an air of joy, 15-year-old Carina Avila of Arroyo Grande auditioned in dance.

The supple teenager wore a sparkly sequined vest and shorts that had to be 100 percent Spandex as she leaped about. She had to audition outside, because the covering on the church stage wasn’t suitable for a combination of modern dance and ballet.

There was no topping the confidence and poise exhibited by this sprightly, athletic miss.

BFF (Best Friends Forever:
Sandy Carty (right) hugged Evy Dykema, who’s been walking on Cloud Nine ever since she published two softcovers books (one on dating at age 69 and one on entertaining). The two friends met up at the Philharmonic's recent annual gala. Dykema has another book, on leadership, in the works.

She was followed by a classical and flamenco guitarist (and music teacher), Manny Mestas. He showed up in a big false white beard, a newsboy cap, and overalls.

“For years I have encouraged my students to participate in the talent show,” Mestas said. “I contend that one appearance on stage, in front of a live audience, is worth a month of lessons. There is so much for youngsters to gain from this experience. My students have benefitted from being in the show.”

And, he added with a big grin, “I finally decided to try out myself.”

He played what he called an “old-timey” tune, on the guitar, punctuating certain chords with a toot on the harmonica he had fastened around his neck with a gizmo. How’s that for fudging on a description!

I asked one of the two audition judges, Diane Balay, if Manny had made the cut. “But, of course,” she said, with her signature twinkle-in-the-eye.

The game plan is this: Out of the audition pool, the judges will choose 20 performers who will hit the stage Thursday night, April 11, and 20 who will perform Friday night, April 12. The top 10 from each night will compete in the Saturday, April 13, finals.

Coast Hills has donated $1,000 (thank you, Coast Hills!) for the first-place winner to take home. Another prize of $500 will go to the winner of the “People’s Choice” award.

If you plan to go with or without your kids, you will have fun. Last year, they had available for purchase pizza, hot dogs, soft drinks, and Mrs. Bixby’s really good homemade chili.

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

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