promo CUs Got Talent

Participants in Champaign West Rotary's fifth annual CU's Got Talent fundraiser — from left, talent recruiter Becky Preston, Co-Chair Mike Hirschi, performer Colin Ramage, guitarist Dan Wachtel, performer Maria Vasquez, percussionist Daniel Applegate and vocalist Virginia Rosas — pose for a photo Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign. The 2020 event takes place Feb. 1.

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Five years into its difference-making fundraiser, Champaign West Rotary has found a home at the Virginia Theatre.

For the second year in a row, CU’s Got Talent will play out in downtown Champaign on Feb. 1. That’s a good thing for the audience (visit for ticket information) and the eight head-turning acts that will take the stage.

“The really cool thing we discovered (in 2019) is that anything the performers need, they get,” event co-chairman MIKE HIRSCHI said. “There was a 5-year-old dancer who during practice ... we noticed there were monitors on stage that were big enough she could hide behind them. We asked the stage crew to strike them and they said, ‘No problem.’ It’s the setup we need.”

CU’s Got Talent has raised nearly $150,000 for community causes, including Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, C-U At Home, Frances Nelson Health Center and Family Service of Champaign County.

Talented teen harpist Stella Youse won last year’s event and will make a guest appearance during intermission. This week’s totals show salsa dancer Maria Vasquez leading the pack (vote early and often — and bid on auction items — at the website).

We’ll run photos in our On The Town feature in these pages and at later in February.

“We have a talented community, a giving community,” Hirschi said. “This is a way for us to help local charities when a need arises.”