Cats host benefit talent show

UVM’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) hosted the third annual Catamount Country Talent Show to benefit Special Olympics Vermont April 13.

It was an afternoon of dancing, singing, music and comedy with the all-encompassing theme of raising money for the Special Olympics.

Special Olympics Vermont provides year round training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendships with their families, peers and community.

The event, hosted by men’s Basketball’s Ben Crenca and Special Olympian Josh Beaupre, took place in the Grand Maple Ballroom in the Davis Center on the UVM campus. The competition was judged by Dr. Bob Corran, Bill Reichelt and Lisa DeNatale.

“The hosts of the show were outstanding,” Taylor Silvestro, vice-chair of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee said. “They kept the audience entertained and laughing. Ben and Josh made a fantastic team. You would have thought they were professionals.”Ben Crenca is a four-year member and senior on the men’s basketball team at UVM. He was named team captain for the 2012-2013 season. Beaupre is a 20-year-old Special Olympics Vermont Athlete from Burlington.

He competes in cross country skiing, bowling, bocce and soccer. He performed a dance to the Michael Jackson song, “They Don’t Care About Us.”

“Community service is a strong emphasis that we focus on,” Silvestro said. “We decided to have a Catamount Talent Show to raise money for Vermont Special Olympics.

Our motto that we say often is “athletes helping other athletes.” With the money that we raised last year, we were able to help send special Olympians to South Korea to compete. This year marked our third annual talent show.”

Special Olympics Vermont returned to UVM for the Spring Sports basketball tournament, April 20-21. More than 350 athletes and partners from 16 delegations competed for a chance to represent Vermont at the 2014 Special Olympics National Games in Princeton, NJ.

“I think the event went well,” Silvestro said, “We had some great talent that competed and had a variety of acts, including people from outside the UVM community.”

Prizes were raffled off and drawn twice during the show.

Host Josh Beaupre was the first act of the show. The acts before the first intermission were guitar player Christian Lewis, improv troupe People With Faces, guitarist Suzanne Friedman, young singer Mollie Allen and A Capella group the Top Cats.

The second half of the show featured the Top Cats yet again, singer Miriam Romero, standup comedian Dustin Bruley, Spanish singer Sasha Birge, the father-son musician duo Brian and Mark Slevin and the UVM Jazbaa club.

“You could tell that all the performers were passionate about their performances,” Silvestro said. “They helped keep the high-energy going.”

Brian and Mark Slevin were the winners of the talent show. They played “Love Potion Number 9” by The Searchers and “The Weight” by The Band.

“Brian and Mark Slevin were quite the duo,” Silvestro said about the tournament winners. “It was our first time having a father-son performance and it was impressive.”

“It is important to have the UVM athletics support because many of the audience members are from the athletic community,” Silvestro said. “Many athletes come to support the performers and also their teammates that had organized the event.”