Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara's "Opportunities Got Talent," an annual occasion featuring the aptitudes of individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities through song, dance, theater and comedy in a competitive format, occurred Friday at the Riviera Theatre in North Tonawanda.
More than 20 acts competed in front of a crowd of 200 friends, family and other program participants. A panel of judges from the community selected the winners: first place - Darren Huntington for his comedy act; second place - David Bandinelli playing a Beethoven selection on the piano; and third place - Angela Castillo for her rendition of "Santa Baby."
The judges included Mayor Robert Ortt of the City of North Tonawanda; Margaret Dorian, 2012 Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Queen; Sarah Matteson, former actress and licensed OTR; Peter Lovering, Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara Foundation president/Niagara National Insurance; and Joan Willard, ARCEU Local 4265 vice president. The evening was emceed by Connie S. Brown, executive director of Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara, and Nick Zawacki, president of ARCEU 426,5 which represents the direct care professionals at the agency.
This talent show afforded people with musical or theatrical talents a public opportunity for expression under the direction of James Matteson and the agency's recreation department. Auditions and a dress rehearsal were held in the months prior to the event.
For nearly 60 years, Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara has been providing training, employment, service coordination, exceptional parenting, recreation (youth and adult), residential, geriatric, fine arts, horticulture therapy and health-related and support services to people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities from newborn to seniors, and their families throughout Niagara County.
For more information about the agency, call 716-504-2617 or visitwww.opportunitiesunlimited.org.