In the late 1800s and early 1900s, literary societies were popular and provided a non-athletic outlet for healthy competition among students. As early as 1900 George Marshall, then principal of Wasatch Academy was looking for a sponsor who could offer cash prizes to successful competitors in literature and oratory at Wasatch Academy. Dr. Thomas Forrester, a friend of the schools from Beaver, Utah donated prize money until his untimely death in 1902. At that time F.C. Jensen, a prominent Mt. Pleasant businessman and alumnus of Wasatch Academy, stepped forward with the continued support of the contest. The festival was then called the F.C. Jensen Literary Contest for many decades and became a permanent part of the commencement activities. Later F.C. Jensen’s daughter Frances and her husband Stanley Gill became sponsors of the contest. And at some point, the contest was renamed to Jensen-Gill.
As the decades passed, more performing art events were added to the contest and today it is called the Jensen-Gill Performing Arts Showcase. The competition is open to all Wasatch Academy students and is judged by outside judges from the local community. Students interested in competing in Dance, Drama and/or Music are invited to perform during three nights of preliminaries.
This year’s Jensen-Gill performers displayed an incredible level of showmanship and talent. The music preliminaries offered a wide range of performances including duets, guitar solos, eloquent piano pieces, and violin solos. The dance and drama preliminaries hosted well-versed monologues, group dance performances, aerial arts, and individual and duet dance performances.
Each artist brought a great deal of passion and commitment to their performances. Congratulations to all participants in this year’s event. The following are those that were selected by outside judges for their outstanding performances:
Karen Liu, piano
Jay Hoang, guitar
Juniper Wolf and Joe McDaniel, voice and bass
David Cottam, piano
Joe McDaniel, bass
Corey Lawrence, voice
Rokiatou Diop, Ethan Lee, Kyrie Lee, Macklin Lee, Bochen Qian
Willow Brown, Margaret Quick