A talent for doing good: Key Club talent show raises funds
by Margaret Hurlbert
March 09, 2023

MUSCATINE, Iowa–As a fun way to wrap up the week before spring break, Muscatine High School’s Key Club put on their annual talent show March 9. An event that brings students together to celebrate their peers’ performing abilities, it also raised money for It Takes a Village Animal Rescue and Resources and Mother Mentorship, two local organizations making a difference in Muscatine County.

A show filled with different sorts of acts, students who attended got to treat themselves to vocal performances, instrumental performances on the piano, guitar, and drums, and even large group performances by Muscatine High School Jazz Etc. and River City Rhythm Show Choir. This year, first place went to Joseph McNeely, who performed a piano solo of “I Giorni.” Parker Ellsworth, a senior who has performed in the talent show each year, won second place for his performance of “To Build a Home.” Matthew Richardson, also a familiar face on the Muscatine High School stage, won third place for his rendition of the classic Frank Sinatra song “My Way.” For their duet of “For the First Time in Forever Reprise,” Alexis Taylor and Kaylee Hayes received the most unique award. Drummer Nate Harfst won the crowd favorite award for doing a glow in the dark performance of “One Step Closer” by Linkin Park.

Organized entirely by students in Key Club, all of the money raised from the talent show goes to local non-profit organizations they select  This year, they brought in $1,795 to divide between It Takes a Village and Mother Mentorship. Makenna Kopf, a senior and one of the talent show’s coordinators, explained that she attended a meeting of the Kiwanis Club, the larger organization that Key Club belongs to, and saw a presentation from Mother Mentorship’s founder. She felt inspired by how this growing program benefits families as they leave Muscatine Center for Social Action’s shelter and start new lives in stable, independent housing. Because of It Takes a Village’s extensive work throughout the community to provide foster care to homeless animals and find forever families for them, Key Club president Aubrey Haney thought it represented a worthy organization too. “We like keeping the charities local,” she said. “That’s important for us.”

Photos by Margaret Hurlbert

Looking back on their biggest fundraiser of the year, both the Key Club’s members and their advisor, Jen Keltner felt pleased with the talent show’s success. “I think it’s really cool to be able to raise this much through a talent show,” stated Aubrey.

“I think they did fantastic,” added Keltner, who found that the students really took the lead this year and needed little help from her the day of the show.

Though the talent show represents Key Club’s largest fundraiser of the year, they do may other events as well, including holding four different blood drives, trick or treating for UNICEF on Halloween, selling candygrams at the winter holidays, selling Crush sodas for Valentine’s Day, and volunteering at Parks and Recreation events. If a student would like to join Key Club, they may sign up through Adaptive Scheduler to attend their meetings Thursdays during Muskie Time. “Anyone is welcome anytime,” McKenna emphasized.

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