New N.A. Idol dances her way to the top
Mary Ann Tabor has a fresh highlight to add to the memories of her senior year at North Augusta High School, having danced her way to the winner of the 2013 North Augusta Idol title.
The annual talent show, a project of the North Augusta Cultural Arts Council, has had Tabor among its participants in each of its nine years.
"I've done it since the beginning - the very beginning," she confirmed. "I was in third grade."
Her performances in North Augusta Idol have included duets and solos, and her 2013 dance was a contemporary-style routine to the tune of "This Woman's Work," as sung by Maxwell.
The 18-year-old, whose parents are Pam and Billy Tabor, pointed out that her mom owns The Dance Shoppe on Edgefield Road, "so I've been dancing forever."
Tabor also won a new honor, receiving the Mim Woodring Award for Excellence, named in memory of the woman who directed the talent show for its first eight years. Woodring also was the founder and editor of The Star for around 50 years.
Rod Greeneway, introducing Tabor before her performance, noted that she was dedicating the dance to people suffering from cancer or affected by it.
"When I was really little, my mom had a little girl - a little dancer - and she went through chemo," she said, recalling a dance she did with the young cancer patient to the tune of "I Can Only Imagine," a song dealing with the idea of coming face to face with Jesus.
She said her plans for the immediate future include staying in the Central Savannah River Area at least for a while, to prepare for a career as a performer.
"I want to dance, and I want to act because I've been in theater before, and ... I've been extras in movies. I love acting."
She plans to make a leap up the professional ladder as the financing and training become available, she said.
The show's other award-winners, among high-schoolers, included Juliann Loyd, who sang and accompanied herself on the piano to "Imagine." Second place went to Ariana Williams, who sang and played guitar to "Three Cheers Goodbye," a composition of her own. Both attend North Augusta High School.
Among middle-schoolers, the top prize went to Kevin Arnold, from North Augusta Middle. He sang "Bring Him Home." Second place went to a percussion quartet comprised of North Augusta Middle students Dylan Smith, Kyle Simpkins, Zach Mooney and Michael Nicholson. They played "How It Ends," an original composition. At the elementary level, first place went to Mossy Creek Elementary's Tyreek Jennings, who performed a dance routine to "Beat It," as sung by Michael Jackson. Heidi Coughenour, from Hammond Hill Elementary, sang "Castle on a Cloud," and finished second.
"It takes a lot of people to make it go," said Peggy Burnett, the show's coordinator. "Everyone did a super job. I thought the talent was excellent. It was all about the kids, and I thought they did a great job."
Burnett also mentioned the award in honor of Woodring, who was also known for decades as the owner and editor of The Star.
"If it hadn't been for her help, the show may not have lasted many years. We worked together on it," she said, noting that Burnett handled the organization and Woodring worked with the students.
The award, "based on excellence and attention to details and perfecting your art," will probably be annual. It was a surprise that the Woodring honor went to the same student who wound up winning the top performance prize, Burnett said.