Omega Psi Phi’s Third Annual Talent Hunt
Looking for the Best
     The winner of the local chapter then goes on to compete in the district competition. Wisconsin is a part of the Tenth District, made
up of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. The grad chapters from those states will present their winners. The district
winners go on to compete nationally against everyone.”
      Last year, the Talent Hunt had 6-7 students compete at Memorial High School. “Last year, I was pretty amazed at the talent that was
here in Madison,” said Robert Jackson, the assistant secretary/treasurer for the chapter. “If you aren’t involved with the kids,
especially on the talent side, then you don’t have an idea of what is out there. Just taking something as simple as the spoken word
where they can talk about their feelings and what is going on in their lives and their perception of things opens up our eyes and gives
us a whole different perspective.”
      Tierney Chamberlain won the competition last year and went on to compete in Illinois for the district competition. Although she didn’
t win the competition, Chamberlain enrolled at the Berkley School of Music in Boston last fall. And all that you gain from the competition
is not counted in medals. “On the district level last year, Tierney actually met other students who were going to be freshmen at
Berkeley also,” Jackson said. “She might have made connections there that helped her on campus this school year. She wouldn’t
necessarily get that in Madison had she not been in the program.”
      This year’s competition will be held on March 20 at the Boys & Girls Club on Allied Drive. According to Hopkins, anyone can
compete and the rules are simple. “They must do a 3-4 minute piece,” Hopkins said. “We also do the visual arts. We try to showcase
all of the arts, but it seems the performing arts are the ones who get there more. Your performance must be a minimum of three
minutes and the maximum is six minutes. Judges also take into account if they memorized their music, their stage presence, how loud
they are and things like that.”
      High school students interested in competing are encouraged to complete a registration form which they can get on line at www. and return it by March 17. While they prefer pre-registration, if time permits they do allow same day registrations.
The first place winner receives a $500 savings bond and an all-expenses paid trip to the district competition. The second place winner
receives a $250 savings bond and the third place winner receives a $50 savings bond.
      While there is only one person who will be selected to represent Madison at this year’s district competition in Grand Rapids,
Michigan, everyone who competes is a winner. “It will be a good experience for all of the performers,” Jackson said. “The only way to
get polished is to go through this kind of thing. This isn’t American Idol, but it is the closest we’re going to get right now in Madison.
You don’t have to be a star to compete. And it might be a good wake-up call because someone might be told at home they are great —
because every parent wants their kid to be great — but when outsiders judge them and they get an outsider’s view, it might change
their work ethic.”
      While Hopkins hopes the Madison winner will go on to win the national competition this year, a win next year would have special
meaning. “Next year, all of those top talent kids will be here in April 2011, which is also our centennial year,” Hopkins said. “So next
year is going to be very special. It would be great to have someone from Madison win in Madison next year.” Go Madison!

      For more information about the Talent Hunt program or to download an application form, visit the Gamma Gamma Gamma chapter’
s website at They can also be contacted by phone at 608-335-5495 or by e-mail at

By Jonathan Gramling

      Back in 1911, when four young Howard University students and their
faculty advisor founded Omega Psi Phi fraternity, little did they know that it
would blossom into an international movement that impacts the lives of
youth and adults on a daily basis.
      When Rodney Hopkins, the Gamma Gamma Gamma chapter’s vice
basileus lived in Maryland, he helped out with the Omega’s Talent Hunt
program. “The Talent Hunt program of Omega Psi Phi fraternity came in the
1946 when our fraternity started it in the Second District, which was North
Carolina. The fraternity wanted to showcase high school talent in the
performing arts. So you had individuals singing, playing instruments such
as the piano, saxophone and violin. Over the years, it progressed to
include dancing, acting and spoken word. It’s geared toward high school
students, 9-12 grades.”
      When Hopkins moved to the Madison area several years ago, he
restarted the Madison chapter’s Talent Hunt program. “Each year, every
graduate chapter is responsible for putting the program on,” Hopkins said. “
Robert Jackson (l), the Gamma Gamma Gamma chapter’s
assistant keeper of records and seals and Rodney Hopkins,
the chapter’s vice basileus with a photo of the founders of
Omega Psi Phi