WATERLOO — Hip-hop, soul, R&B and gospel performers and dancers will be among entertainers at the Set the Stage show Saturday at the East High School auditorium.
The annual variety show, sponsored by Waterloo Homecoming, begins at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Hosts will be Wes B and Socialite Suzi. Tickets are $10 per person available to purchase in advance at https://setthestage2018.ezevent.com/ or at the door.
“We want to showcase what great talent Waterloo has, and so we work with every act on stage performance and movement, hook them up with a live band and a choreographer and put them on stage,” said Producer/Director Felicia Smith.
Now in its fourth consecutive year, Smith has paid for all of the expenses herself. This year, Waterloo Homecoming offered to sponsor the show, which is a continuation of the 1993 Hip Hop Hooray started at West High School. “They called me and said they really loved the show and wanted to sponsor it. That’s really what made it possible to have the show this year,” Smith said.
Juliet Dunn, who is a member of Waterloo Homecoming, said supporting the event fits in with the organization’s mission. “Set the Stage is very good for the community because we have a lot of talented young people 25 and younger in Waterloo. This is a way for them to exploit their talent and for the community to come together as a whole.”
This year’s performers True Talent Dance, mixing styles from hip-hop featuring performers from ages 6 to 16; Trevell and Stazsa, R&B/Neo-soul singers; King Tez (Anthony Cortez) a hip-hop artist from Texas, Tatum Talbert, winner of the Next Pop Icon; Waterloo Writing Project, featuring an original piece by several students; Abstract, a distinctly unique musical and visual experience; and Ladii K (LeKeithia Rowser) from Milwaukee, who has been writing rhymes with her older brother since age 8, performing an original song, “Love Me.”
Also the dance duo Aries Godd & Highvision; Daniel Mitchell, 14, who has been singing since age 4; Four Women, featuring classical, jazz, R&B and gospel vocalists Celeste Bembry, Felicia Smith, Stazsa Phillips and Kenesha Davis, performing Nina Simone’s “Four Women”; Brooklynn Smith and Brooke Dunn, 13-year-old performers; hip-hop artist Lyrikal and a “Dream Girls” tribute featuring Ahmad Madlock, Brook Dunn, Brooklynn Smith, Janaya Wilder, Nevaeh Brock and Molly Wilson.
A collection of singers from across the city, Waterloo Gospel Allstars, will sing a gospel music medley with Gift of Life Praise Dance Team from Gift of Life Ministries.
Waterloo Homecoming/Nissen and Nalls are executive producers. Stage manager is Angie Nissen. Music director is Dante Ware. The band features Matt Hartleip, Matthew Anderson, Jardez Hollingsworth and Lee Nguyen. Background vocal coordinator Kaonna Creighton; Tarik Cherry is production assistant; and talent coordinator is Yoshida Thomas.
“All of these kids and students and performers are talented and deserve to be showcased,” said Smith. “Having kids get up on stage and help them get over their fears about performing, for the community to stand up and say ‘we got you,’ that’s what this show is all about.”