Rhody’s Got Talent coming to URI’s Edwards Auditorium

KINGSTON, R.I. – Oct. 29, 2009 – The students at the University of Rhode Island have talent, and they will be using that talent to benefit epilepsy awareness.

On Wednesday, Nov. 4, URI’s Feinstein Enriching America Program, the College of Business and the Matthew Siravo Memorial Foundation will bring the first “Rhody’s Got Talent” event to Edwards Auditorium at 7 p.m.

All 15 acts in the show consist entirely of URI students and range from singers and dancers to magicians and baton twirlers. Each act will have five minutes for their routine, and a panel of three judges plus audience response will determine the winners.

Students from the business sections of URI 101 are doing the fundraising, selling tickets and T-shirts for the event. Though this is the first year for the talent show, the T-shirt sales for the epilepsy awareness efforts raised more than $15,000 last year.

“We want the students at URI to make a connection between their experience at the University and the community around them,” said Sarah Miller, coordinator for the Feinstein Center for Service Learning. “For the business students, this is a fantastic way for them to gain an understanding of the impact of philanthropic work. Students are not just here for an education, but also to become part of a larger community.”

The celebrity judges for the talent show will be comedian Charlie Hall from Ocean State Follies, Miss Rhode Island 2009 Julianna Strout and radio host John DePetro from the WPRO morning news show.

The event will benefit the Matthew Siravo Memorial Foundation. URI alumni Richard and Debra Siravo started the foundation in memory of their son Matthew, who suffered from epilepsy and died at the age of five after a prolonged seizure. Since then, the Siravos have dedicated themselves to raising epilepsy awareness.

“There is an amazing level of talent here at URI,” said Richard Siravo, who watched all of the auditions for the event. “My wife and I both graduated from URI, and we have established our family two miles from campus. Working with the College of Business and the Feinstein Center for Service Learning in promoting epilepsy awareness and showcase the talent of the students was a no brainer for us.”

Contestants in the talent show will compete for several prizes, including round-trip airfare tickets from Southwest Airlines, a flat-screen television, an iPod, concert tickets and more.

Tickets for the show are $5, and the event is open to the public, with a limited number of tickets to be sold at the doors to Edwards Auditorium starting at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call URI’s Clearinghouse for Volunteers at 401.874.7330 or the Matthew Siravo Memorial Foundation at 401.789.7330.