Quintessential, a barbershop quintet consisting of five boys from Versailles High School, won Ohio Has Talent in 2016. In the 10th year, the competition will see 17 performers. (Photo courtesy of the NPAC)
Quintessential, a barbershop quintet consisting of five boys from Versailles High School, won Ohio Has Talent in 2016. In the 10th year, the competition will see 17 performers. (Photo courtesy of the NPAC)
VAN WERT – Over the past few weeks The Times Bulletin has talked to many talents who will be participating in Ohio Has Talent on Saturday. Singers, bands, performers, dancers and many more will compete for the number one spot, but it is important to note what impact Ohio Has Talent has on the community.

Kim Mason, event coordinator at Community Health Professionals, talked about the benefits the show has on those who need the most help.

“The money always goes back into our patient care fund,” said Mason “I always emphasize with all of them [performers] that they’re giving up their talent and they don’t know who, down the road, is going to get this type of care because they gave up their time.”

All the ticket money goes to the Community Health Professionals patient care fund, excluding a slight percent that the Niswonger Performing Arts Center keeps for its handling fee.

“All of the prize money, the rental cost of the PAC, is all covered by sponsors,” said Mason. “So when somebody buys a ticket, it’s not going to prize money, it’s going straight into the patient care fund.”

For the first few years the money went to help out the financial building costs of the Inpatient Care Center, but now that that building is completed, the money all goes towards the Hospice Patient Care Fund. The Inpatient Hospice Care Center was built around nine years ago.

The Hospice Patient Care Fund provides home health and hospice services to individuals who are not able to provide care for themselves or who may not have the funds to do so. Community Health Professionals is a nonprofit agency and relies on donations and fundraising, such as that coming from Ohio Has Talent, to continue giving support and assistance to those in need.

The organization does not deny care to any individual due to lack of financial resources. Ohio Has Talent has been a huge help in allowing it to raise money for the patient care fund.

“Sometimes people come in and their medicines are several thousand dollars a day,” said Mason. “That money helps to cover what we don’t get reimbursed for so that we can stay non-profit, so that we don’t have to turn people away.”

Mason said that hospice not only sees the elderly, but children as well, noting that within the first year a 15-month-old baby used the facility. Mason said that the average age they see is around 48 years old, noting that many people may not be aware of the young ages of people they care for.

For Mason personally, she has enjoyed being a part of Ohio Has Talent, stating that she worked as a music teacher for 14 years at Delphos Jefferson and also sings in the well-known local Christian group, Trinity. While working at CHP and doing Ohio Has Talent, Mason has been able to combine her love for music with her love for helping others.

“I came out of teaching because I wanted to do more of that [caring for others], and I got a job here as a social worker,” said Mason. “I also go out and do music ministry where I go out and visit hospice patients and sing to them.”

Mason is excited for this year’s show which has already sold about 900 out of 1,200 seats. Mason stated that the CHP still has tickets and said that they are selling the center orchestra and center balcony sections, where as the Niswonger Performing Arts Center is selling the side sections.

The Ohio Has Talent winner is based on an audience vote. This means that there will be an insert in the program that will allow the audience members to vote for who they feel should win. Employees in the Community Health Professionals finance department will collect the ballots, calculate them and then the winner will be announced by the end of the night.

The first prize winner will receive $1,000, second place will receive $500 and third will receive $250. There will also be two honorable mentions. Although the reward is monetary and will not necessarily guarantee the winners will advance their talent to a bigger audience or place, Ohio Has Talent does put their performances online so that they have the opportunities to be seen by any producers or record labels. This was what past participant Mati Lyons credited her success to, despite not having won the talent show.

“We put all of those out on YouTube, because the PAC is a very professional venue, sound-wise and video-wise,” said Mason. “This is a great video for them to have so that they can go on.”

Each year Mason and other qualified individuals judge around 30-60 acts to determine who has what it takes to go on to perform in front of the Ohio Has Talent audience. This year there are 17 acts that made it to Ohio Has Talent.

“It’s a nice evening, knowing that when you buy a ticket where the money is going to and coming out to see a great talent,” noted Mason. “A lot of people will keep in touch with these people, too, like following them on Facebook, people like to keep up with what they are doing.”

The Niswonger Performing Arts Center is hosting Ohio Has Talent on Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets are available through the NPAC box office or through Community Health Professionals.