Written by: Jessica Hung and Emily Chao, FCSN Voices Youth Reporters
Graphics by: Kaitlyn Huynh, FCSN Voices Graphic Artist
The Special Needs Talent Showcase Audition was held on February 6, 2023 at the FCSN Chenming and Margaret Hu Center. The auditions were held both online and in-person. Many special needs individuals were able to show off their talents, ranging from singing to dancing. On the day of the preliminary auditions, passionate performers eagerly waited for their chance to demonstrate their abilities.
The performances were impressive, including a breathtaking rendition of “Phantom of the Opera.” Some performers also played instruments like violin and piano, while others dressed up and danced. There was a pair of performers who dressed as Woody and Buzz Lightyear and sang “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story. Another talented individual sang the classic song “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. Many of these performers had experience performing in other FCSN events, such as FCSN Music Camp and previous talent shows. Yet, they still decided to participate in this year’s talent showcase to show their talents and bring smiles to the judges and others.
Parents at the audition shared that the talent show was a great chance to help their children build self-confidence. It is difficult for special needs individuals to express themselves; the showcase allowed them to show what they can do. One parent remarked, “It takes a lot of courage to get up on stage, so just the fact that they are here to audition like any other child would, is a great experience.”
Many parents also expressed that it was hard for their children to find the momentum to start preparing for the auditions. There was one performer who was very nervous for her audition. Her mother added, “My child is a naturally shy girl, so it was hard for her to audition; however, with the encouragement and the support of her family, she was able to try her best and be herself.”
The special needs talent showcase was founded to provide opportunities for special needs individuals to shine in the community. Anna Wang, the event chair and the co-founder of FCSN, has been an integral part in organizing the showcase every year. As a mother to a son with special needs, Wang encountered stereotypes that individuals with disabilities are people having no abilities at all. “[The talent showcase] is another way to bring awareness to the community that special needs individuals can have lots of different abilities [and talents], and also to affirm to the people with special needs that they are precious and that they have things that they can contribute to the community and worth applauding for,” Wang explains. “We want to prove [the stereotypes] wrong.”
The talent showcase stands as an incentive for individuals who are able to overcome the mindset of “being a burden” and combat these misbeliefs by showing what they can do and astonish others with the unique talents they each possess. “A lot of people want to reach for their dreams and want to be shining in front of the community, but are not given a chance to; the special needs talent showcase is just one of those platforms that allows them to shine,” Wang said.
Wang also brings up the topic of hope and importance of paving the road for possible future career paths for these individuals in different industries, such as the entertainment industry.
The entry fee to participate in the talent showcase is $10. Anyone that makes it into finals receives a $100 prize, and the top three winners of the competition receive $500 each. In addition, a ‘People’s Choice Award’ category gifts an individual $400 as well. Trophies and money prizes are given out to finalists.
The final competition will be held on Saturday, 4/22, from 4-6 PM at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Come join FCSN in celebrating the extraordinary talents of special needs individuals as they compete for the top awards and prizes. Tickets are for SALE: $10/seat in-person and $25/device virtual.
Link to purchase virtual or in-person tickets for the Final Talent Showcase: www.specialneedstalentshowcase.org.
ABC7 News Coverage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIsYhFt-_o4&t=12s.