The Duncan Banner

March 11, 2013

Wharton sisters surprise, delight crowd

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — When Annabelle and Merribelle Wharton, an 11 and 12-year-old pair of sisters, performed “Millionaire’s Hoedown,” on their violins Saturday night, they had the crowd clapping and tapping. It was the second annual “We’ve Got Talent” and is a Duncan Little Theatre production. It was held at the Simmons Center.

The Wharton sisters received the top prize of $250 and also earned an opportunity to perform during the Western Fall Fest event in September.

The sisters have been playing violins for about three years and have a teacher at Oklahoma City University, where they travel to once a week to hone their skills. Despite the amount of work they put into their violin playing, they were taken aback when they won Saturday’s competition.

“I didn’t know we would win,” Merribelle Wharton said. “I’m really surprised.”

The sisters were one of 21 performers to take the stage for the competition. The sisters weren’t the only performers to play instruments.

Annabelle Wharton said she was excited when she heard her and her sister’s name called as the winners of the talent show.

“I like it,” she said.

Eric Schmidt, who recently performed in Duncan Little Theatre’s “Back to the ‘80s,” was runner-up and received his trophy and recognition just moments before the Whartons were announced as the winners.

Schmidt, wearing a white suit and blue tie, performed “Bridge Over Troubled Water” effortlessly.

In addition to the winners and the runner-up chosen by the panel of three judges, another performer was recognized by the audience.

Jayden Cooper received the “People’s Choice” honor for his dance performance to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” This was Cooper’s second “People’s Choice” win. During the first “We’ve Got Talent,” Cooper impressed the audience with a dance to Jackson’s “Pretty Young Thing.”

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Cooper said. “There were a lot of good performers.”

Cooper said Jackson’s music is a constant inspiration to him.

“It never gets old,” Cooper said.

“It’s always good.”

The show is a fundraiser to sponsor scholarships for students to participate in DLT’s Teen Theatre workshop.

This year’s judges included Brad Eason, Toni Hopper and Melvin Jones. Tara Harper was program coordinator for the event and Katie Kurtz served as emcee, keeping the audience engaged during set changes and intermission.