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Cornwall entertainers show their best at annual show

CORNWALL — This town couldn’t put on a bad talent show even if it tried. Cornwall is just too full of talent.The 14th annual Cornwall Talent Show, to benefit the Cornwall Library is now a day-after-Thanksgiving tradition that packs the UUC church. Folks who felt they ate too much turkey and pie could come and laugh and clap away the calories.Library board president and show producer Barton Jones kicked off the show with a welcome announcement: He would no longer shamelessly promote the annual Woman’s Society rummage sale by wearing the great $2 sports coat he’d picked up there.“I’m wearing a full-price Brooks Brothers jacket,” he said, before pulling the jacket open to reveal a deep pink shirt. “But the shirt? Fifty cents!”And so the tone was set, and it was reinforced by the beloved clown, Roger the Jester, who was the opening and closing acts and appeared between some of the other performances. Full disclosure: Roger (Reed) is not a Cornwall resident, but has in-law status. And despite Jones’ proclamation to the contrary (with an admitted lack of objectivity), all Cornwall talent does not come from Popple Swamp Road.The musicians of Still, the Homegrown Band offered up a Cornwall salute with an original song about the Cornwall Farm Market, inviting all the regular marketeers up on stage. They brought props, including Brussels sprouts, and declared, “We gotcha focaccia!” Market regular “Nick the Knife” Jacobs added a new twist on the band’s sound with percussion played on hedge clippers.The Little Cornwall a cappella group (Housatonic Valley Regional High School students Fiona Ocain, Taylor Dowd, Savannah Martin and Madeleine Longwell) offered some homegrown delights. Even while rehearsing backstage before the show, their clear, pure voices wafted into the sanctuary like those of angels.Young Ethan Jadow thrilled, once again, with an original piece on guitar.Performing arts major Emily Thaler (Popple Swamp Road) sang “Broadway.”Larry Stevens and Fred Thaler (Popple Swamp Road) channeled Abbott and Costello with a pitch-perfect rendition of the comedians’ famous “Who’s on First?” routine.The musical trio Tapestry (with one additional member for the talent show) offered a South American sound with guitar, drums and flute. The group includes Cornwall native (Popple Swamp Road) Maurice Oyanadel.Returning, from Concord, N.H., was the popular group Firefly, comprised of the five-member Symmes family.“Thanks, Uncle Barton,” dad Whit Symmes said after their introduction.The band has become a favorite (they stay on Popple Swamp Road for the Thanksgiving weekend) and the talent show audience has watched the three teenage singers and violinists (Jane, Adelaide and Elley) mature into seasoned and gifted performers.A little bit of Broadway was brought to the show by Tom Jones, who lives in Sharon but has a West Cornwall post office box, and who wrote the book and lyrics for “The Fantasticks,” the longest running Broadway show in history. Accompanied by friend and all-around talented guy Michael Berkeley, Jones performed “undeniably the most obscure song we ever wrote,” called “Off Broadway Melody.”The evening ended with an inspiring and moving quote by Roger about laughter. But not before hilarity ensued with what seemed at first an innocent group sing of “The 12 Days of Christmas.”While he played a small accordion, Roger silently prompted the audience to sing each verse. It quickly became embarrassingly apparent that no one knew it as well as they thought they did. Had there been cell service, some might have Googled the lyrics for all the verses past “five golden rings.”

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