Kayli Blake performs a dance routine during Tuesday's PHS Talent Show. The performance earned her first place in the contest. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Sophomore Kayli Blake didn’t have much time to prepare for this year’s Philomath High School Talent Show. In fact, she pretty much relied on her natural talent in dance to pull off a moving performance on stage Tuesday morning.

“I realized that the auditions were happening like the night before,” Blake said. “So I choreographed it that night and just kinda threw it together. A few weeks later, I gave Brooke (Moade), the coordinator, the flash drive and I just threw myself into it at the last minute.”

The performance earned Blake first place based on the opinions of a panel of judges that included principal Brent Belveal and teachers Aaron Schermerhorn, Matt Kelly and Alice Eldridge.

Blake, who competes with the PHS Shining Stars, said she’s been dancing since age 3. The performance on Tuesday occurred before a packed PHS auditorium.

“The major worry is that I’m going to fall,” Blake said when asked if she gets nervous on stage in front of so many people. “But I told myself I was going to get through it and I got through it.”

Jayden Noble performs “Hurricane” with vocals and guitar. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The judges likely had a difficult task to decide upon a winner based on the talent level seen on stage. Michi Araki performed on the cello in the first student act of the morning. Sisters Emma and Katherine Holden followed by playing the theme song from the movie, “Up,” on the clarinet and flute.

Jayden Noble did an exceptional job with his rendition of “Hurricane,” which included guitar and vocals. Khyra Cory and Bailey Bell also had performances on the guitar and Katherine Holden returned to the stage with a flute solo.

Following Blake’s dance, defending Talent Show champion Blake Niemann took the stage dressed in drag for a comedic music routine that also included Grant Niemann and Hudson Raab.

Senior Blake Niemann, who won the talent show last year, performs in drag. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Associated Student Body member Brooke Moade was the show’s coordinator.

“It was harder than I expected,” Moade said when asked about how the show came together. “It’s my first time leading something like this. But it went pretty good and we had a really great turnout, which is really exciting. I didn’t think we’d have as many acts as we did.”

Also performing were a group of Philomath preschoolers, who danced to a song medley in the dark with glow sticks attached to them. Scott Card, high school German teacher who is more commonly known as Herr Karte, displayed his juggling and yo-yo talents.

PHS teacher Geoff Lake sings his rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin’.” (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Other teachers were also on stage at various times during the show. Teachers Shelly Brown and Geoff Lake lip-synced a rap to open the program.

Lake later offered his take on the Journey classic “Don’t Stop Believin’” — saying prior to the performance that he was dedicating it to a former foreign-exchange student in Ukraine. Students responded to the number by lighting up their cell phones and singing along at times in the darkened auditorium.

Blake Niemann and Jonathan Doig served as the show’s emcees.

The show ended with a performance by a group of teachers and staff calling themselves the Barden Bellas. Brown went on stage one more time to sing an operatic note while standing in a kiddie pool with others throwing cups of water on her. There was also an unscripted “prom-posal” that ended on a positive note for the student posing the question with the girl responding with a “yes.”

German teacher Scott Card, who is Herr Karte in the classroom, shows off his yo-yo skills. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.