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Working Mom's Musings: We got talent galore!

Since I began working here, I've had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people.

I've been reminded of the amount of talent our small town has. We've got comedians, actors, singers, academic all-stars, sports phenoms and more.

Over the weekend I travelled to Chanhassen and watched Tom Rusterholz, a RFHS graduate, perform in "Hairspray" (see accompanying article). I was amazed at his talent and professionalism.

During his big solo number, his mic malfunctioned. Without missing a beat Rusterholz projected his voice, unassisted, loud enough so that everyone in the theater could hear him.

He was easily heard above the accompanying music.

After the show Rusterholz met with my family and me. Still winded from his performance, he happily told us about his love of theater and acting, politely including my young daughters in on the conversation. Enthusiastic, talented and well-spoken, he will be a positive representative of our small town out in "The Big Apple."

Rusterholz isn't the only local talent making news as of late.

On American Idol, we have Reed Grimm. Born and raised in the area, Grimm is making a name for himself with his amazing singing and quirky on-stage antics.

Grimm, too, is a positive representative of the area. Amid all of the 'Idol' excitement he took the time to visit some of the area schools, including Westside Elementary.

According to my two daughters, whom attend Westside, he was funny and was incredibly nice to all the students. He spoke about the character traits the students were learning about. He told stories of mistakes he made when he was younger, how he learned from them, and how important one's character is.

A few weeks back I had the privilege to write a story about New York comedian Tom Steffen. Since graduating from RFHS, Steffen has been making his way through the big city comedy clubs, but he's not forgotten his roots.

Steffen has come back for the last five years and performed a benefit concert for the (2011 WSMA state champion) RFHS band -- he's even brought friends.

We are not only talented in the arts -- we also have many sports stars in our ranks.

Two-time Olympic medalist, Karyn Bye and two-time Olympic speed skater, Maria Lamb -- to name a few.

And don't forget KARE-11 TV newsman Boyd Huppert.

Even our local youth are shining -- four young ladies bested everyone at their schools to attend the regional spelling bee; then there is Maura Watson who will be the voice of the students on the school board; and last, all the fantastic student-athletes who've shined on their way to state tournaments.

I can't help but think that with all this talent going around, we need to thank the residents of River Falls for bestowing on our youth their knowledge and dedication.

Each of these "stars" became who they are because of the people around them and the experiences they had living here.

So, River Falls, continue supporting our community; attend art shows, theatre productions, sporting events. If you get a chance travel to Chanhassen Dinner Theatre to see Rusterholz in "Hairspray," you won't be disappointed. And lastly, if Grimm makes it through this week, remember to vote for him.

Jillian Dexheimer
Jillian Dexheimer has been a copy editor and reporter for the River Falls Journal since 2011. She previously worked for the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Dexheimer holds a sociology degree from UW-River Falls.
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