Students step into spotlight in Burr Ridge
Gower Middle School eighth-graders Heena Srivastava (left), 13, of Burr Ridge and Sonali Patel, 13, of Burr Ridge dance to Bollywood music during a dress rehearsal for the annual talent show. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 18, 2013 1:17AM
BURR RIDGE — America’s got talent, and so do the students at Gower Middle School.
The talent show known as Gowerpalooza has become a tradition at the Burr Ridge school. On the day before students leave for winter break, students showcase their talents for classmates, teachers and parents.
“We encourage them to do unique things,” said Emily Ziebka, eighth-grade literature teacher.
She started the show six years ago with teacher Julie Matos. Since then, it has grown to include more students each year.
“It’s progressively gotten longer over the years,” Ziebka said.
But no one seems to mind spending the majority of an afternoon being entertained by their peers. This year’s show, which will start at about noon Friday in the Gower gym, opens up with a five-man, yet-to-be-named band.
“We’re just hoping to think of something before Friday,” said Colton Kotecki, who plays guitar in the band.
All five members are in the school band, but this will be their first performance together.
The band’s keyboard player, Christian Schulte, has watched Gowerpalooza from the bleachers the last two years. The seventh-grader said every year’s show offers something different.
“There’s always somebody new,” he said.
This year, he’s one of them.
While looking for a bass player, the band members were surprised to find out one of their friends played.
Discovering each others’ talents is part of the fun, said Kristina Martinet of Burr Ridge. While she’s only a fifth-grader, she will step onto the stage with friend Spencer Staak for a dance routine.
“Maggie actually sounds like Adele,” she said of singer Maggie Callanan. “She’s so good.”
Gowerpalooza 2012 features lots of singers and dancers, as well as performances on piano, cello, drums and guitar. There also will be a karate demonstration and an improv act, as well as a comedy duo.
Malina Novelle, a seventh grader from Burr Ridge and a regular performer in the show, said she’s not surprised by the talents of her classmates.
“I know they’re all good,” she said.