Talent show promotes cultural interests, supports diverse community


Selena Favela

Sigma Psi Zeta members compete in the Cultural Talent Show at the RSC Saturday evening. The group took first place in the show.

In a culmination of culture and the elements that define it— language, dance, music, and people— the first Cultural Talent Showdown showcased local student talent. The Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) and Miss Vietnam Wichita (MVNW) committees partnered to showcase eight talent acts from varying cultures Saturday.

The eight acts performed songs or dances that represent different cultures. The acts were judged on elements of originality, showmanship, and cultural interest, for cash prizes up to $400.

Dancers from Sigma Psi Zeta placed first. Justin Lewis, Darrius Ray, and NaQuan Jones, a singing trio from Wichita High School East, placed second. Kenon Brinkley, amateur musician, placed third.

“I was really happy and excited that Sigma Psi Zeta won,” Lilly Tran, external VP and performance chair, said. “This was the first cultural event that I had to incorporate our cultural backgrounds with our Greek traditions.

“To execute this, I decided that it would be neat to stroll to songs from different Asian cultures and make a story out of it. I did not know how the audience would react to our performance but seeing how we placed first, I was overjoyed. As a team, we plan to use this money and give back to our sorority because they had done so much for us.”

Bryant Ngyuen, emcee and VSA president, said that events like the talent show helped him stay in touch with his culture. Likewise, audiences and participants have the opportunity to connect with other cultures as well.

“As a teenager in high school, I wasn’t very connected to the Vietnamese community,” Ngyuen said. “But my first touch with the Vietnamese community was a talent show just like this. I was a part of it, and it really helped me to give back to the community with whatever they have given me.”

After the success of the event, organizers are hopeful for years to come in the purpose established. Because of the cultural significance for performers and audiences, VSA and MVNW plan to organize an annual show.

“We want to spread cultural awareness of any culture displayed,” Nguyen said. “I definitely want to see this be an annual event. This could be something that could continue to go, and continue to grow larger.”