Walden & Pines Bridge Students Present a Tour de Force


Pictured Above: Alexis Aguiar performs “Firework” by Katy Perry at the 10th Annual Talent Show for the Walden and Pines Bridge schools at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES.

“Magnificent!” “A triumph!” “Unforgettable!”

Those were the words audience members used to describe the 10th Annual Walden and Pines Bridge Talent Show held at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES on Friday. The widely anticipated event featured everything from classic rock to modern dance to comedy to video art displays as students showcased their abilities and their passions for family and friends.

Jonaah S. played the ukulele and sang “House of Gold” by Twenty-One Pilots and encouraged the audience to join in on the chorus. Christian I. performed a modern dance while clad in artwork he had created. His costume and movements created a bird-like impression of someone flying.

Alexis A. sang “Firework” by Katy Perry in a strong, clear voice reminiscent of the original, while students from Mrs. Worth’s class – Chris C. and Matty O. – sang and danced to “Something Just Like This” by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay.

In Walden and Pines Bridge Schools where differences are celebrated, the 10th annual talent show was open to anyone brave enough to perform. And it was open to any type of talent.

Budding author Jacob C. read an original story he had written while the story illustrations were shown on a projector. In another one-of-a-kind performance, Jakai B. told jokes while Sonia W. accompanied him on the guitar. Chase S. demonstrated karate, while Evan T. performed an original rap song about bullying.

Debra Canzio, who works with art teacher Jesse Steiner to infuse the arts into the school experience at Pines Bridge and Walden, launched the talent show in 2007 with a simple suggestion at a staff meeting.

“Initially, the idea was for the adults to put on a show for the students but after some consideration we decided it would be an even better idea to have the students perform for staff, family and friends,” Canzio said. “With the support and guidance of Lynn Allen, I was able to share my ideas with Principal Mike Sowul who was supportive from the start.”

Canzio, whose family often put on shows with music, dancing and skits when she was growing up, said “Performing was a dynamic way for me to express my authentic self and to stay true to my spirit. I wanted to share this passion with our students by providing a forum for them to express themselves outside of the classroom and showcase their diversity. The show also allows students to further cultivate a positive self-image and gain a sense of accomplishment.”

Since its inception the talent show has grown to become a widely anticipated event that draws a standing-room-only crowd each year. Canzio serves as emcee and ensures that each performer has his or her moment in the spotlight. In all, 60 students performed this year.