By Abby Burbary
The Mason Times
Mason High School is preparing for its 13th annual Indoles talent show, where all proceeds will be donated to the Rylan Cotter Memorial scholarship.
According to the MHS website, the show will take place on Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19 at 7p.m.
MHS math teacher Steve Jackson said he helped start the show 13 years ago as a student-teaching intern through Michigan State University.
Jackson said the internship required that he take part in a community service project, which is where he produced the idea of showcasing the talent at Mason High School.
“There were many people out there who had amazing talents to show but we never got to see, so we needed a place for that,” Jackson said.
Jackson said his favorite performance throughout the course of the show was a staged light-saber battle, where he was even included in the act for one scene.
“I practiced with them for a few weeks as the ‘old’ Jedi and ended up getting flipped on the hard stage,” Jackson said. “I later found out that I cracked a vertebrae.”
This year, Jackson said the show will have 32 acts with about 50 people performing on stage.
“We will have singing, dancing, a martial arts display, bands of different types, a monologue, using sign language for a song, and probably a few other things that don’t have a category,” Jackson said.
Jackson said all proceeds of the show will be donated to the scholarship honoring Rylan Cotter, an MHS graduate who died in 2008 while a student at Michigan State University. The scholarship is awarded to a senior who will be attending a two- or four-year college of Visual/Performing Arts.
“In her junior year of high school, she was one of the students who helped start and create the show,” Jackson said. “She came up with the name for the show, called Indoles, which is Latin for intelligence, talent and disposition.”
Jackson said Cotter was an important part of his beginnings of a teacher, and it felt right to name the scholarship after her.
“She was part of the group who wanted to give money back to students who were continuing their art education,” Jackson said.
Mason High graduate Kristin Rebera said earning the scholarship last year has given her the opportunity to study musical theater at Oakland University.
“I needed the money to be able to study what I love, so I applied as soon as I could,” Rebera said.
Rebera said the $2,000 scholarship has also taken financial weight off her family, as her parents are about to have three children in college at one time.
“Being able to save whatever money we can is really important,” Rebera said.
Rebera said she was familiar with the story of Rylan Cotter when she applied for the scholarship, and she loves that the proceeds from the show are given to support it.
“It’s a lovely way to honor her memory,” Rebera said.
During high school, Rebera said she was performing any time she had the chance, and she participated in classes like choir, music theory and advanced theater.
“I was a part of every play or musical that I could fit in my schedule,” Rebera said.
When it comes to future aspirations, Rebera said she plans to graduate from Oakland University with a BFA in musical theater and a minor in Spanish.
“I want to be able to do what I love every day. If I can make that happen, I think I’ll have a pretty great life ahead of me,” Rebera said.
Dustin Ellsworth, a previous contestant of the show, said that he felt inclined to sign up because he had always wanted to show his talents to an audience.
Ellsworth performed an electric guitar solo in 2011.
“I always wanted to play guitar in front of people,” Ellsworth said.
Ellsworth said the fact that all proceeds from the show are given to the scholarship is a positive thing for MHS.
I think it helps bring the school together for a good cause,” Ellsworth said.