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Vocal group “Just Friends” takes home first place in ORU’s Got Talent

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Seven groups congregated on the chapel stage to compete in the second annual ORU’s Got Talent show this morning. Five student groups and two faculty groups competed for the title but only one group won the grand prize of $1,000. “Just Friends” swept the stage with their vocal quartet and piano accompanist, taking away not only the audience’s breath, but the title of first place.

The five member group includes vocalists Amber Dukes, Nataki Linder, Alisa Moss, Christian Branham and pianist Adam Rodgers.

“Just Friends” performed a medley of gospel songs in front of not only the entire student body and administration, but five esteemed judges.

A smooth and soulful mash-up of Kirk Franklin’s “My Life My Love,” “Don’t Cry” and “Alpha and Omega” by Israel and New Breed filled the chapel, leaving students and faculty standing to their feet.

ORU alumni Mark Steele of Steelhouse Productions, Johnie Hampton of Hampton Creative, Olympic athlete Madeline Mims, News on 6 LeAnne Taylor and Rustic Cuff’s Jill Donovan took to the judges table as the teams competed for prize money.

Following their performance, Steele commented saying their harmonies and cohesion as a team were undeniable and even singled out Rodgers for completing the team through the piano.

In preparation for the performance this afternoon, the team went through a series of auditions and practices to ensure their medley was polished and ready for performing.

Sophomore Nataki Linder says the process was an enjoyable learning experience.

“Working with four other skilled musicians is always a great experience,” Linder said. “It’s challenging for that same reason. We all have big personalities and ideas. So learning to manage that was also part of the process.”

When the moment they had been working toward finally arrived the group felt a difference in their performance than any practice leading up to the pinnacle moment.

“All I could think about was the move of God that shifted the atmosphere from a talent show to a worship service in point five seconds,” Senior Amber Dukes said. “We truly were humbled to have the opportunity and platform.”

Dukes thanks God, the one who made it all possible.

“Our talents can only take us so far,” Dukes said.

Although she did not anticipate the win, Linder said it was a great reward for their hard work.

Upon hearing their name announced, “But God” ran through Linder’s mind.

“Winning for me was having people be ministered to and I believe we accomplished that,” Linder said.

Michelle Eiler won the faculty division of the competition and was awarded $500.


Story by Madison McDaniel, photos by Wyatt Bullard

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