The K-Factor's 2019 performers were an exceptional group. (Darin Reed photo.)

K-Factor Packs Huntington’s Auditorium

The K-Factor's 2019 performers were an exceptional group. (Darin Reed photo.)

March 4, 2019

This year’s K-Factor talent show drew a crowd of 1,200 and brought many outstanding performers to the Huntington High School stage last Friday night.

The huge crowd at the eighth annual show was enthusiastic, applauding for acts that included singing, dancing, instrumental and comedy numbers. English teacher and drama club advisor Michael Schwendemann performed his master of ceremonies duties with typical flair.

Chloe Wheeler was electrifying en route to second place honors. (Darin Reed photo.)
Chloe Wheeler was electrifying en route to second place honors. (Darin Reed photo.)

The evening included 22 separate performances during the two act show. Key Club officers Nick Haupt, Molly Kessler, Hannah Avidor, Julia Segal, Livia D’Anna, Josie Fasolino, Julia Giles, Ryan Hoffmann, Nick Rowley and Emily Cheshire along with faculty advisors Gina Colica and Kelly Krycinski organized the show down to the smallest of details and the end result was impressive as the large crowd enjoyed a great night of entertainment.

“It was great to see how a community came together in one room for such a great cause,” Mr. Haupt said. “The show ran incredibly smoothly thanks to the big help by the stage crew, other Key Club members and all the acts, which were extremely impressive this year.”

A team of judges sat a long table in the orchestra pit and took notes on each of the acts before retiring to discuss the performances. When the group returned, Ashley Genao was presented with first place honors. Chloe Wheeler captured second place with the 12-person group Dirt, Air & Hot garnering third place. The Los Tres Amigos dance team earned honorable mention recognition as the crowd favorite.

“I feel like the K-Factor was a huge success,” Ms. Giles said. “All the acts were great and all of the officers put in a lot of effort to make sure everything went smoothly. The teacher act was the greatest thing I’ve ever seen!”

This year’s show was dedicated to Rachel Antorino, the daughter of Huntington High School English teacher Aimee Antorino. Rachel lost her battle with leukemia last August. She was just 14 years old. In her memory, Ms. Antorino started the foundation, Rachel’s Dance for the Cure to help relieve the financial burden placed on families of pediatric cancer patients.

All proceeds from Friday night’s show will be donated to Stony Brook Hospital’s children’s oncology unit. Visit to learn more about Rachel’s Dance for the Cure. Rachel Antorino attended many past K-Factor events, even singing and dancing with show Mr. Schwendemann.

There was a well-received teacher act and a performance by Mrs. Krycinski, who accompanied by Mike Zigon on guitar sang a song the pair wrote in tribute to Rachel Antorino. It was perhaps the night’s most heart-touching moment.

“K-Factor, as always, was an incredible event,” Ms. Segal said. “I always love seeing the community come together for such an amazing night, especially this year since it was such an important and personal cause for our entire school community. It is rewarding to see everyone’s hard work pay off. I can’t wait for next year’s show.”

The solo vocalist performances by Ms. Genao and Ms. Wheeler were especially powerful. It came as little surprise the pair earned the show’s two top prizes.

“K-Factor was incredible this year,” Ms. Kessler said. “We had so much support from the high school, Key Clubbers and the community, who made this night possible. Everyone came together for an amazing cause and made this night one to remember.”

The K-Factor draws its name from Huntington High School alum and former Key Club member Kaila Harlan. A member of the Class of 2009, she was diagnosed with leukemia while attending college. Her alma mater organized the first show to help raise money to cover expenses related to her treatment. She passed away on August 29, 2013 at age 22.

“I’m really proud of how the show went,” Ms. Avidor said. “There was a great turnout and I think everyone really enjoyed the show. I’m extremely grateful to have been a part of planning such an amazing event.”

The crowd was comprised of folks of all ages. “K-Factor went amazing this year,” Mr. Hoffmann said. “The acts were great, the Key Clubbers involved did a great job helping the whole evening run smoothly and we raised so much money for an amazing cause.”

Dozens of local businesses donated raffle items, which helped raise thousands of dollars for the cause. The generous sponsors included Panera Bread, Main Street Nursery, Sweetie Pies on Main, Red Restaurant, Restaurant Joanina, The Olive Tree, Medici Fine Stationery Gifts, Libutti Diamond Jewelers, Osteria da Nino, Munday’s, Towne, Mitchell’s, Ulta Beauty, Sobol LI, Crushed Olive, Book Revue, Wild Flour, The Mystical Crystal, Spice Village, Sensational, Nest on Main, Cow Harbor Fine Gifts and Collectables, Helga’s Choice Consignment, Jewelry Collection and More, Aveda Posh Salon & Spa, Penny & Cooper, Wilkes Gallery, Records Reserve, Daisy Nails & Skin Care, Anthony DeFranco Salon, Gorgeous “The Salon of Treasures,” Girl Obsessed, Bixby, Lyons family, Simpson family, Gigante & Krycinski family, Mike Zigon, J. Rommel, T. Connolly, B. Noble, Carnesi family and K. Morrel.

Freshman Ashley Genao gave a stirring performance. (Darin Reed photo.)
Freshman Ashley Genao gave a stirring performance. (Darin Reed photo.)
Kelly Krycinski and Mike Zigon gave a touched performance in honor of Rachel Antorino. (Darin Reed photo.)
Kelly Krycinski and Mike Zigon gave a touched performance in honor of Rachel Antorino. (Darin Reed photo.)
The 12 person band, Dirt, Air & Hot earned third place honors. (Darin Reed photo)
The 12 person band, Dirt, Air & Hot earned third place honors. (Darin Reed photo)
Huntington's a capella choir was exceptional. (Darin Reed photo.)
Huntington's a capella choir was exceptional. (Darin Reed photo.)
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