Just one evening after the Academy Awards were announced. . . the 4-H Building in Columbus  was filled with music, talent and dance - as the stars of tomorrow performed for a large crowd of family and friends at 4-H Days. From individual performances to group acts, there was something for everyone to enjoy and appreciate.

Angie Rippel served as judge for the various categories and was impressed with the quality.

The Prairie Ramblers 4-H Club performed two skits in group talent. Their 'American Flag Recipe' earned a purple and the camp skit a blue.

Eric Underwood recited Rudyard Kipling's poem, "If" and received a blue.

A group of  young ladies from the Spring Valley Sparklers 4-H Club did a dance routine to the song, 'Best of Both Worlds' and received a purple.

A mixed group of young men and women from the Lone Elm Beavers and Route 66 4-H Clubs did a line dance to 'Having a Good Time' and received a blue.

Lindsay Nida performed a solo dance in the senior division and received a purple. Her flexibility and stamina might just be one of the reasons her 4-H record book has advanced to state judging in the Health and Wellness project area.

The Spring Valley Sparklers 4-H Chorus sang 'Holy Is the Lord' and received a purple; the Shamrock 4-H Chorus sang 'This Land is your Land' and received a blue. Eric Robison was the accompanist for the Shamrock group.

In the intermediate solo division, (ages 10-13), Skyler Henderson sang 'Jesus Take the Wheel' and received a purple; Jordan Wilson sang 'The Star Spangled Banner' and received a blue.

Lindsay Nida sang 'Be Unto Your Name' in the senior division of vocal solo and received a purple.

In instrumental music, Hannah Atkinson played 'Greensleeves' on her flute and received a purple in the senior division - she was accompanied by Laura Atkinson.  In the intermediate division, Ashlynn Mullere played 'Tum Balalaika' on the piano and received a purple; Phillip Underwood played 'Iliad' on his trumpet and received a blue - he was accompanied by Rebecca Logan.  Tyler Gum played 'Allegro' on his violin and received a purple, Kaylee Gum played 'Go Tell Aunt Rhody' on her violin and received a blue - they were both in the junior division, ages 7-9.          

4-H Agent Phyllis Kriesel, challenged the 4-H members to start thinking now about what they'd like to do for 4-H Days in 2010 - and she hopes to see a duet, trio or quartet in the vocal division as well as some group instrumental and more dances.  And more skits, readings, and talent of any kind (we missed our baton twirler!).

4-H Days started back in 1925 as a model meeting contest held at Round-Up and developed through Spring Festival to the event we know today. Orchestra, band and choruses were added in 1928 and the one-act play in 1930.  Instrumental ensembles were added in 1939 and in 1944 project talks and demonstrations were added.   The term County Club Days was used for the first time in 1945.

On Saturday, March 21, the top in each of the music, talent and dance categories are eligible to compete with other 4-H members from Crawford, Labette, Montgomery and Neosho Counties at Multi-County 4-H Days which is held at the Meadowbrook Mall in Pittsburg, Kansas.

So the next time you think about 4-H, remember that the program is much more than 'cooking and cows' - we are a community helping young people learn leadership, citizenship and life skills all across America.