BY ED GEBERT

Times Bulletin Editor

egebert@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT - A look through the Ohio Has Talent! competition lineup seems to indicate that Van Wert County has talent as well. Eight of the 20 competitors in the Feb. 9 talent search have roots in this area. There will also be entrants from Columbus, Dayton, Fostoria, and even Fort Wayne, Indiana involved in the event.

The performers will be vying for prize money in the competition which will be held at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9. The show is a benefit for Community Health Professionals' Van Wert Inpatient Hospice Center.

Among the contestants from this area is Ann Brake, a 16-year-old dancer from Ohio City. Brake has studied dance for more than nine years. She is a returning performer who has a deep love for the art of dance and is considering a career in it.

Also on the program will be James Brake, a 23-year-old graduate of Lincolnview High School and Bluffton University with a B.A. in music education. Brake began playing piano at a young age, and studied percussion, piano, voice and composition while in college.

Gabrielle Emerick is a 13-year-old seventh grader at Crestview Middle School. Emerick performs in the choir and band and is a cheerleader. She enjoys singing and has performed at the Van Wert County Fair.

Rachel Green is a sophomore at Parkway High School. This 15-year-old Rockford resident participates in band, choir, drama club, foreign language club, and dance, all-star cheer, and the Flip-Tuck Flyers. She loves music and has dreams of being a singing performer.

Michaella Johnson is a sixth grader at Van Wert Middle School with a history in the Ohio Has Talent! competition, having competed when she was just six years old. Johnson is 12 years old this time around. She has a passion for music and reading, and is a gold card recipient in the Renaissance program.

13-year-old Delphos resident Natalee Rose Patrick is an eighth grade student at Elida Middle School. She has performed at singing competitions, county fairs and at country music festivals. Patrick has also been in theater productions and studies dance.

Van Wert High School senior Scott Turner is a multi-instrumentalist, performing on piano, trumpet, organ, and keyboard percussion. He also has experience in this competition, performing in 2008 and 2011. He gave a special presentation at last year's show, performing an original, memorial composition for 2011 OHT winner Shirissa Seibert.

Emma Wurst is a 16-year-old sophomore at Delphos Jefferson High School. This year will mark her second appearance in Ohio Has Talent! Wurst has taken piano lessons for five years and vocal lessons for four. She also plays trombone in the Lima Area Youth Orchestra.

As a special treat, 2012 Ohio Has Talent! winner Cameron Jones of Delphos will be performing as the audience votes are being counted at the event.

Tickets for the show are available for $10-$25 by contacting the NPAC ticket office at (419) 238-6722 or online at www.npacvw.org. Tickets may also be purchased at Community Health Professionals in Van Wert at (419) 238-9223 or online at www.ComHealthPro.org.