The Arc Mercer’s Got Talent Aplenty

January 2nd, 2018

By Daniel Meara, Communications Manager

The Arc Mercer showcased its consumers’ abundant gifts in song, theater and dance at the annual “Arc Mercer’s Got Talent” show in mid-December. Under the direction of Arc Drama Manager Kirk Ponton, 18 performers took the stage at the Lawrenceville School on December 15 and held the audience spellbound throughout the two-hour show. Each performance showed the Drama Program’s resolve to realize its goal of “erasing stigma to allow our audiences to see that true talent has no boundaries.”

Every performer’s love of music and stage was evident and the night’s pacing superb.  Introducing each act were a pair of comical masters of ceremonies, Patrice Jetter and Jacylyn DiLouie, who is The Arc Mercer’s new music manager.

Celesta Biaer opened with a heartfelt rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” and set a bar high for the singers and dancers who followed.

Ebony Bynum was equal to the challenge and she indeed did soar with her “I Believe I Can Fly.”

Five actors, Rachel Lamont, Sandra Acosta, Terry Mack MaryAnn Nimchick and Cindy Cook, performed scenes from “The Wizard of Oz,” including the demise of the Wicked Witch.

Hatem El’Attar was up next and put all of his powerful vocals to use in belting out “Reach Up.”

The mood shifted on the next number, as Tina Provost lent a delicacy to the evening with her “Interpretive Dance.”

The next two performers had the audience dancing, at least in their seats. They drew from the King of Pop’s 80’s funk and Motown. David Kydd sang Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” followed by Albert Varner’s soulful take on the Temptation’s “Ain’t too Proud to Beg.” David’s “Billie Jean” filled the stage with Arc Mercer dancers. One of these was Nwanyi Amadi, who supported many of performers as a back-up dancer (though not too far back).

Andrew McPherson’s love of the spotlight was apparent in his comedy routine, which gave a freshness to material that has been around the block more than a few times.

Vincent’s a cappella rendering of the “I Went to the House” was deeply touching, his spare vocals bringing a hush over the auditorium.

The mood quickly turned upbeat with Taj Kelly’s Hip Hop Dance–she had moves enough to cover the stage and attitude enough to fill the auditorium.

Antonio Candelaria, donning a fedora reminiscent of Old Blue Eyes, delivered a high-energy interpretation of “Sexy Black.”

Then it was Arc Music Manager’s Jaclyn DiLouie’s turn. She showed her vocal range on “Getting to Know You,” though she could not resist some high jinx to go with the high notes she hit.

The couple of Claudia Steward and Paul Edwards delighted the audience with their touching slow dance.

Susie gave a rousing performance of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and welcomed a group of her fellow Arc singers to lend a hand on the song, which was a hit decades ago for Elton John and Kiki Dee.

With the night nearing its close, Michael Johnson and Melanie Staton joined forces for an outstanding duet on “Shame.” This was their second “Arc Mercer’s Got Talent” show.

The night would not have been complete without bit of magic, which came from Ray Truitt, aka the Great Raytini, who put a spell on a skeptical Claudia and had her barking like a Scooby Doo at one point.

Last, but certainly not least, came Nasira McDavison, who did some serious strutting to Beyonce’s  “Single Ladies.”

All the performers took the stage for the night’s encore: the Beatles “Come Together.” The song was dedicated to Joe Gleason, who recently left The Arc Mercer after 14 years with the agency and who was in the audience.

Among the organizations that made the event possible is the Mercer County Institute of the Arts. The Arc Mercer extends its thanks to the Lawrenceville School for use of its Kirby Arts Center.

Keep an eye out for coming Arc Arts events in 2018. They will be posted on our website, or contact Kirk Ponton at