PHOTOS: 2017 Forte Awards Celebrate Northern Nevada Performing Artists

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Earlier this month The FORTE Awards (Fans Of Reno Tahoe Entertainers) put on one hell of an evening of over-the-top celebration of the area’s deep pool of talented and uniquely northern Nevada performing artists. The evening featured performances from artists in all five artistic disciplines plus the debut of the FORTE All-Star Orchestra.

Local celebs on hand included Justin Rupple, Frank Hannon of Tesla (the band), Michael Furlong, Max Volume, Greg and Shanda Golden, JJ Christy, Todd South, Councilperson Naomi Duerr, Gary Raffanelli, Justin Impossible, past FORTE award recipients, plus all the most talented performers in our community.

All proceeds from the event benefit Food Bank of Northern Nevada, Nevada Humane Society, and the Veterans Resource Centers of America.

This year’s show, in my opinion, was much better put together than last year’s inaugural gala. Despite a few bugs, the entire show went off very well.

The night kicked off with the Red Carpet Photo Shoot where everyone could get a photo taken on a traditional red carpet; of course, the line was a long one. The nominees along with the many fans of the Reno music scene and all the performing artists in northern Nevada gathered in the lobby of the Grand Theatre to mingle and talk to each other before the show started.

The awards show started with Nevada Dance Academy dancers performing “Masquerade.” Emcee Justin Rupple with special guest Justin Impossible came out next telling jokes and doing some magic tricks to entertain the audience while introducing the rest of the show.

The theater category went first with a spoken word piece featuring Jesse James Ziegler and John Frederick. The Forte Award winners in theater are:

  • Actor, Dramatic Role – Jessey Richards
  • Actress, Dramatic Role – Sophie Moeller
  • Actor, Comedic Role – Jesse James Ziegler
  • Actress, Comedic Role – Rachel Lopez
  • Actor, Musical Role – Ryan Kelly
  • Actress, Musical Role – Cori Lynne Cooper
  • Best Director/Producer – Cami Thompson

The dance category was up next and started with a magic card trick featuring dancers performing “Shuffle the Cards.” Winners in this category are:

  • Ballet, Contemporary and Lyrical – Ashley Smith
  • Dancer in a Musical, Play, or Production Show – Taylor Shepack
  • Ballroom, Jazz and Tap – Marla Richardson
  • Bollywood, Belly Dance and Movement – Terri Sheridan
  • Hip Hop, Pop Lock, Breaker and Street Performer – Michael Kaski
  • Special Act Performer – Rebecca Yruegas
  • All Around Junior Dancer – Sophia Cacioppo

The Frank Hannon Band with special guest Greg Golden did an awesome set before the intermission. Special performances by puppeteer Bernie Beauchamp and the Forte All-Star Super Group featuring 2016 awardees Tyler Stafford, Monique Jade, Jason King Roxas, Gia Torcaso, Rick Metz, Alan Griffith, and Tony Savage, came next preceding the Comedy and magic categories. And the winners in comedy and magic are:

  • Male Comedian – Paul Bronken
  • Female Comedian – Josie Spadoni
  • Improv – Amanda Alvey
  • Magician – Jacques Simard

The best part of the night, to me, was up next with the music categories. And the winners are:

  • Blues – Buddy Emmer
  • Metal and Heavy Rock – We Predict A Riot
  • Rock – Seasons of Insanity
  • Jazz – First Take featuring Rick Metz
  • Pop – The Novelists
  • R&B, Funk and Soul – Mojo Green
  • Country – Spur Crazy
  • Americana, Bluegrass and World Music – Sierra Sweethearts
  • Cabaret and Tribute – The Floyd
  • Jazz Instrumentalist – Rick Metz
  • Bass – Steve Caba aka Guss
  • Guitarist – Jeff Montgomery
  • Drums and Percussion – Kevin Maxwell
  • Electronic – Sky Cats
  • Hip Hop Vocalist – Luke Wynn
  • Female Vocalist – Lisa McCuiston
  • Male Vocalist – Marsh Brodeur
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Larry Engstrom

This year’s show was awesome. Congratulations to all the winners and let’s hope that there will be a third year of the Forte Awards. Always support your local bands and venues. Go to a show!

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John Tuckness
About John Tuckness 90 Articles

John Tuckness has been photographing rock concerts in the Reno/Sparks/Tahoe area and as far as Northern California since 2004. He tries to attend as many shows as he can. John knew he wanted to be a concert photographer when he went to his first concert, Kiss and Montrose way back in 1976. He saw three guys shooting the show and thought to himself, “that’s what I want to do.” After many years of undercover work (sneaking his camera into venues), he finally got noticed and started getting photo passes through PR people and the bands. John has had many of his photos published in newspapers, websites and band autobiographies.

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