Meet our MC
Warren Cort Dews Jr.
Warren Cort Dews Jr. was born and raised in the Bronx, N.Y. A noted singer in his church’s choir and throughout the community, Warren loved to praise the Lord with his powerful and melodious voice.
Warren was a well-known singer in his junior high school in the Bronx. His talent garnered him acceptance into the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan. The school is also known as the “Fame” school as it served as inspiration for the hit 1980s television show. In 1987, Warren performed on stage with Patti LaBelle and the late Billy Preston. He later went on to work with the late Jam Master Jay, a member of the groundbreaking group, Run-DMC.
In 1993, he started singing secular music with his group and was signed to Atlantic Records. In 2019, Warren founded Dews Management Inc (DMI) in which he helps manage and work with many singers, actors and other talented people to share their gifts with the world.
He currently works with artists/friends such as Ayana George who is currently on Broadway playing the role of Katherine Jackson, mother of Michael Jackson in the musical, MJ.
Professionally, Warren is now VP of Capital Region Independent Media. The company owns seven newspapers and over 20 magazines and websites. He is also CEO of Wallit and co-owner of the FireHouse Cafe & Bistro in Adams, Mass, as well as the new restaurant, Bigg Daddy’s, that will open at MASS MoCA later this spring.
Warren earned a bachelor’s degree from Virginia State University and is currently working on his Master of Divinity. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. and St. John Lodge #10 Masonic Organization. Additionally, Warren serves on the boards of the Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires, The Brien Center, Barrington Stage Company, Berkshire Black Economic Council, NorthEast Association of Communication Executives(N.E.A.C.E.) and a slew of other groups that help the community and people at large.
He lives in the beautiful Berkshires of western Massachusetts with his wife, Roberta, and their three children; son, Warren III, 19; son, West, 15; and daughter, Kennedy, 12.
Meet our judges
Amanda Crosby is 34 years old and has been married for almost 15 years to her high school sweetheart. She has two beautiful daughters, ages 16 and 10. She enjoys kayaking, roller blading, reading books, vacations to Florida and spending time with her family and friends. She has worked at Brattleboro Subaru for seven years, going on eight. She has worked in multiple positions, but being a service advisor is definitely her favorite, because she loves people and helping them.
David Hiler is co-owner of Whetstone Brands; Whetstone Station Brewery, Kampfires Campground, The Rollin’ Stone Food Truck and The River Garden Marketplace, all in and around Brattleboro. David has amassed over 35 years of Restaurant and Inn experience; the early part spent managing California Hard Rock Cafes. In the early 2000s David rebuilt the Three Mountain Inn, in Jamaica, Vt., into a four-diamond rated, Wine Spectator Award winning Country Inn and Restaurant.
In 2012, after a stint with Gordon Ramsey and Hotel Hell, David and his business partners, Tim and Amy, bought the Riverview Cafe, which they saw as an opportunity to put their skills and knowledge to the test. They created the Whetstone Station Brewery, a unique experience, to provide locals and visitors a lively spot to meet up and enjoy fine craft beverages.
David knows a thing or two about talent too, and while he is still a practicing musician, he knew better than to attempt a career in music. His wife is a professional circus performer so he has had the opportunity to be around some talented and unique individuals. However, being smart enough to recognize his limitations, he’s content to sticking to the business of food and beverage…but he’s certainly not afraid to share his opinions!
David and his wife Allison enjoy travel, the outdoors, music festivals and visiting the occasional brewery. David can be reached at email@example.com
Gena Mangiaratti, whose first name rhymes with “henna,” is arts and entertainment editor for Vermont News & Media, and its three daily papers: the Bennington Banner, Brattleboro Reformer and Manchester Journal. Her role has allowed her to become familiar with much local and visiting talent, for which she is grateful. Her own creative outlets include fiction writing, drawing, thinking deep thoughts while running Southern Vermont trails and collaging with recycled newspapers — many of these things done while listening intently to music. If you consider yourself an Ear With Feet, you are a friend. She reluctantly moved from Massachusetts to Vermont when she joined the Reformer in 2018, but now enjoys life here and is finally considering a fourwheel drive vehicle. She lives in Brattleboro with her cat, Theodora, who has an active Twitter following, @fedoratheodora.
Kristen Ziter Taylor
Kristen Ziter Taylor is Owner/Broker of Brattleboro Area Realty. Being a native of the town, Kristen loves owning a business in her hometown. Brattleboro, and its surrounding towns, have been great to her and her business, and she knows it’s because of her amazing team that her real estate company has thrived for 50 years. The BAR team has dedication, perseverance and a great reputation, hence why Kristen was voted 2018 Remarkable Women’s Entrepreneurial Leader and her firm was voted Greater Brattleboro’s Best Real Estate Office by Market Surveys of America consecutively for 20 years and Best Real Estate Agency by Brattleboro Reformers Reader’s Choice Award for six consecutive years. Kristen is married to Ken Taylor and they have two amazing daughters, Kali and Kennedy. Her favorite things to do in this world when not working are cooking, exercising and watching her girls participate in their sporting events. Kristen is thrilled to be a judge and admires all the contestants for standing on the stage and performing. Bring on the talent!
U O E A T O C T T R N S N S(Accompanied by Dan DeWalt)
Having been very familiar with the stage after dancing for the past 9 years, Gigi has discovered a new talent in the spotlightsinging! Gigi started singing in the children’s choir at church at the young age of 5 years old. From there she sang in the elementary school chorus and now sings at the middle school level. She has performed in school musicals, variety shows, is part of the middle/high school chorus and is also in a capella. Her breakthrough moment, giving her the belief that she could perform professionally one day, was at an all school assembly where she sang her first solo in front of the entire student body. When not singing or dancing, Gigi enjoys being part of her school’s theatre group where she was in the ensemble for “Mama Mia” and “The Addams Family.” She also enjoys soccer, art, and loves her two dogs, Jasper and Piper, and cat, Yuck yuck!
Desmond Amidon Bode
Desmond Amidon Bode is 7 years old and was born and raised in Brattleboro. His parents and grandparents are all professional musicians, so while not formally trained he has been surrounded by music and performance all his life, as well as doing ballet at Brattleboro School of Dance, and piano lessons at the Brattleboro Music Center. He recently opened for The Sweetback Sisters with a piano piece for their Christmas shows, and is enjoying the stage a lot these days.
U O E A T O C T T R N S N S
Tess Bogart is an 11th grader at Brattleboro Union High School. She has been dancing and choreographing her performances for many years. In 2020, she was a top 10 finalist in Windham County’s Got Talent. Her background training has included Brattleboro School of Dance and gymnastics at the Brattleboro Recreation Center.
In addition to dancing, Tess is an avid reader, poet and writer. Her poetry and art was chosen for a curated show of young poets at the Brattleboro Museum of Art, and is published in the recent book “Another World: Poetry & Art by Young People of the Poetry Studio.” She has twice competed in Poetry Out Loud at Brattleboro Union High School.
Tess thrives in school and loves her friends. She is a three-sport athlete in cross country, bowling and track and last year made her high school theater debut. Her heroes include American amateur triathlete Chris Nikic, the first Ironman with Down syndrome. Tess is also an advocate for members of the Down syndrome community. She urges everyone to dream big and never give up on their goals. Tess’s dream is to be on stage.
Kennedy Brown, was born in 2004, a time when China still implemented the One-Child policy. She was adopted from Fenyi, China when she was 10 months old and has continued herlife in the United States. Apart from looking different, she was raised like the average suburban kid, attending school full time with hobbies on the side. Her parents enrolled her in dance and gymnastics as an extra activity. As a toddler, her mother was alarmed by and sought out medical advice regarding her floppy legs and hips. It turns out she’s genetically gifted with open hips and hyperextension.
Kennedy never knew her birth parents, or the reason for her abandonment. As harsh as that sounds, this meant she had complete freedom to create their personalities. She and her mom used to create theories and reasons to justify her flexibility. They’d say her birth parents could be super famous Beijing performers that had to give her up, to travel the world. Their theories had a chance of being true and that was enough to believe it. Building an identity of someone with the same genetics as her, proved that she could accomplish anything in that direction.
India Dansereau is a small town girl who’s always loved singing! She performs karaoke at different locations and has even performed at her local talent show when she was a teenager. She currently lives at home in Claremont, N.H., with her family, fiancé and their two cats Dolly and Merlin, and the family dog Daisy.
Lanie is a 17 year old junior at Saint Michael’s School in Brattleboro. She currently sings in her school choir as well as with two different rock cover bands with Tucks Rock Dojo in Etna, N.H.
U O E A T O C T T R N S N S
Cristo has been singing his whole life. He’s constantly creating songs in his head and putting them down in his journal and loves to bring them to life by collaborating with beat makers. He released his first full length album last summer, called “My World.” You can listen to his album through any music platform. His songs are 90s/2000s pop inspired. He’s preformed at”Keene Idol” in Keene New Hampshire as well as “Bennington’s Got Talent” at Bennington College. He also preforms at his high school. When Cristo is not singing he is part of the tennis, cross country and nordic teams. He loves to travel, have photoshoots, and recently released a single in hopes to launch his second album this summer.
Ezra Holloway, from Saxtons River, Vt., has been performing live since 2016. In 2018 he formed The Man-Made Tragedies, where he was the lead singer, bass player, rhythm guitarist and principal songwriter. Described as a “magnetic,” “energetic,” and “over the top,” frontman Ezra always keeps the crowd jumping. One fan referred to him as “Johnny Rotten fronting Sum 41.”
The Green Mountain Strummers
The Green Mountain Strummers are a sing-a-long ukulele group, giving concerts that bring back the music of the good old days; playing songs you never forget, with words that bring back happy memories. The Green Mountain Strummers will play three outdoor concerts for senior audiences in the Brattleboro area. They will play enduring tunes from the 1920’s to 1950’s recognizable as songs from the Great American Songbook.
The Green Mountain Strummers is comprised of five musicians, Cal Heile of Guilford, Deb Noe of Putney, Susan Rosano of Guilford, Karen Shapiro of Putney and Dennis Waring of Guilford and features the four women on ukuleles and Dennis Waring on clarinet. They play songs from Tin Pan Alley, the name given to a collection of New York City music publishers and songwriters who dominated popular music of the United States from the early 1900s to the late 1940s.
Kim is a multi-disciplinary circus performer and coach who triumphs over the overwhelming force of gravity via contortion and vertical apprarati. Ever since she learned how to climb fabric, in 2014, she has hardly been able to come out of the air. In 2021 she started training full time at the renowned New England Center for Circus Arts, where she majored in contortion and minored in aerial fabric. As an adult sized child, Kim just wants to have fun! To her that means big dynamic movements, death defying drops, intricate wraps and splits for claps (ha that rhymes)! She enjoys creating high energy acts with a lot of personality and a healthy helping of corny humor. When this bendy babe doesn’t have her feet over her head, she enjoys spending time at home with her husband and their dogs. Their activities include but are not limited to eating food, watching reruns, and “attempting photosynthesis.”
Growing up in Wyoming, soprano-aerialist Elizabeth Wohl never met a stage she didn’t love. She studied ballet, jazz, tap, vocal performance and musical theater throughout her youth. She studied opera in college, but gave it all up to plow snow and milk cows at an organic farm/outdoor ed center, before going to Vermont Law School. She has practiced health law for 17 years, both at the law firm of Downs Rachlin Martin, and as in-house counsel for the Brattleboro Retreat. In 2013, she began studying aerial fabric at the New England Center for Circus Arts. She delights in combining classical vocals and aerial acrobatics to create fresh interpretations of well-loved masterpieces. She has performed in operas with the Hugh Keelan Ensemble, the Windham Philharmonic and Tundi, and as a soloist with the Keene Chorale and Friends of Music At Guilford. In 2016, she created a one-woman show: “Laudate--A Singing Circus”, and in 2021 she performed regionally with the band, King Switch. She won Connecticut College’s Concerto Competition and was named a Vermont Business Magazine Rising Star in 2014.
She lives and works in Brattleboro with her wife, two incredibly tolerant teenagers and an incorrigible labradoodle.
U O E A T O C T T R N S N S
Kelly Hopkins, soprano, is a recent transplant to Vermont. Before relocating to Bellows Falls she performed in the greater Boston area for more than 20 years after receiving a degree in vocal performance from Boston University. She used her classical training to perform with symphony orchestras, rock bands and small ensembles. Ms. Hopkins is excited to make her Vermont debut. When not singing, Ms. Hopkins can be found working in non-profit and labor organizing, finishing grad school, running a small arts business, antiquing with her husband, Geoff, and playing with their two dachshunds and tiny cat.
Chelsea St. Jacques
Chelsea St. Jacques is from sunny San Diego, Calif., and has been performing aerial rope for a little over four years. She just moved to Brattleboro a few months ago as a full time Athletic Trainer working for the protrack program at NECCA. She loves being able to help athletes and individuals get their bodies in tip-top physical condition to be able to do the things they love. On a whim, she decided to try aerial arts and fell in love and dove head first into it. She has performed mostly at weddings, festivals and small gigs around the country. Aerial rope is her part time passion but full time love. She hopes to inspire others to chase their dreams and take the path less traveled.
Timothy Wade has been singing just about as long as he can remember, mostly out with family and friends at karaoke. He’s always taken to country music as he feels it does a great job storytelling. In January of 2020, he was lucky enough to win Bennington’s Got Talent. He is currently employed at GE Aviation in Rutland. In his downtime he enjoys traveling with his wife, spending time outdoors hunting and hiking and enjoying quality time with my family and friends.