Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Center Stage returns to showcase local talent

Turnstone talent show welcomes all abilities to compete for top prize

The winner of last year’s talent show and $1,000 was local jazz-fusion band Los Galaxy, from left, Takoda Collins, David Vaides, Zane Stackhouse, Jonathan Jehle, and Daniel Vaides. Not pictured: Ashton Morris.

Published May 3, 2023

Turnstone is back with their second annual Center Stage: Fort Wayne’s Premier Talent Show.

On Tuesday, May 9, at The Clyde Theatre, local musicians, instrumentalists, and dancers of all abilities will compete for the $1,000 prize, last year won by jazz-fusion band Los Galaxy. 

According to Turnstone, trimming the finalists to 10 was a challenge. The nonprofit that provides services for people with disabilities and their families believes in “a people-first approach to empowerment and celebrating talent-first opportunities.” 

good cause

Founded in 1943 by volunteers to invest in the lives of people that have disabilities, Turnstone has many forms of therapy, physical and psychiatric, and their mission is to be a beacon for others. 

Named after the ruddy turnstone bird, due to the bird receiving help when needed, the organization embodies the thought of coming together to overturn every stone and begin new chapters. And that’s what this talent show is all about. Being able to bring a community together for a night full of local talent is what every city needs. Showcasing the rising stars and giving them an opportunity to win some money to support their dreams is a wonderful way to give back to your community. 

This talent show not only supports local acts. All proceeds are given to Turnstone to further advance their programs and support our community so that everyone can feel empowered in their own abilities. 

contestants eager to help

This year’s talent show features guitarist Willy Booger, singer Mary Crisp, singer KC Ramone, pianist Jeremy Francis, elementary school dancers Ratio Dance, actor Conner Johnson, southern rock band Zen BBQ, 13-year-old singer Ellise Young, singer MarShay Neely, and dancer Sockie Phommachanh. 

From singers to dancers to musicians, this group of individuals are all stars in their own way.

While there are a lot of new faces for this year’s show, some familiar ones return, including KC Ramone, who’s known on the local karaoke scene.

“I was actually a part of the show last year, so when I got the email they were doing it again, I said to myself, ‘Let’s try it and see what happens,’ ” he said. “I was very surprised and happy when I heard back and made it. 

“The thing I’m looking most forward to is putting on a great performance for the crowd and a great cause. Make sure you have fun, get out there, and do your best. I know you’re going to be nervous, but once you hit that stage, just leave everything out there.”

After a house fire when he was a child, Phommachanh’s life changed dramatically. 

Born and raised in Fort Wayne, he’s been dancing and performing the past 14 years and running a street dance crew in Indianapolis. He’s currently working on a doctorate in occupational therapy at Huntington University and as a volunteer camp counselor at Hoosier Burn Camp in Battle Ground.

He attended Turnstone for seven years in the ’90s and has continued to be in contact with the orgranization. 

“Turnstone has been a blessing for my family and me,” he said. “I’m looking forward to helping the organization in anyway possible. I am truly blessed and do not let my disability define me. I hope that another person with a disability draws inspiration from my performance.”

speaking from experience

David Vaides of Los Galaxy spoke about his experience on the Center Stage … stage.

Q: How did you get involved in the Center Stage performance?

A: We saw an ad in a restaurant, Yum Thai, for the talent show, and we sent in an audition tape to Turnstone of one of our live performances. 

Q: What was your biggest take away from the event?

A: That sometimes impulsive, last-minute decisions are great.

Q: Any advice for other artists looking to compete in upcoming years?

A: My advice would be to get a good night’s rest the entire week prior to the performance, eat a nice hardy meal the day of maybe some Szechuan food, and practice your act as much as possible and be entertaining. Really lose yourself and have fun with it, at least, that’s what I did. 

Based in Fort Wayne, Los Galaxy started as a group of friends with a similar taste that has turned into a funky group full of talent. With six band members, they have a variety of instruments on stage and an endless amount of passion for their music. They recently released a song called “Evergreen” available on all platforms. They are also working on their debut album.

If you’re looking for a fun night and a way to support rising artists within our community, get yourself a ticket for Turnstone’s Center Stage. Tickets can be purchased on Turnstone’s website,


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