SANFORD — Natalia Rothwell took the stage at the Sanford Performing Arts Center at Sanford High School on Saturday night and sang “Brave,” by Sara Bareilles, and she performed the notes on a grand piano too.

Rothwell played the ivories confidently, and sang the lyrics in a strong, assured voice beyond her years. When she finished, Brett Williams, the performing arts center’s director, invited her to the front of the stage to take a bow as the audience applauded and gave her a standing ovation.

Rothwell, by the way, is only 11 years old. Williams said she gave him and the other curators chills and goosebumps when she auditioned for last Saturday’s talent show in February.

Rothwell and other gifted performers — singers, dancers, musicians and even a gymnast among them — shined during “Sanford On Stage,” a production that served as the capstone event of the community’s yearlong celebration of the 250th anniversary of the official incorporation of Sanford.

“A year of events is culminating tonight,” Williams, who emceed the evening, told the audience. “You’re a part of history.”

Northern Charm served as the evening’s house band, opening the show at 7 p.m.-sharp with covers of two hits from the '80s, “Don’t Stop Believing,” by Journey, and “Summer of ’69,” by Bryan Adams. The band also closed the night with a song from Jimmy Eat World, as some people stood and danced, including children, who did so in front of the stage.

Speaking of dancing, the show included winning numbers by students from Diane’s School of Dance, Northern Explosion Dance Studio, and Jazz Tappin’ Dance Academy. Kendra O’Connell, the owner of Jazz Tappin’ Dance Academy, also dazzled with a tapping solo.

In addition to Rothwell, several local singers shared their voices with the community.

First up was Chris Turner, who did Elton John proud with his spirited cover of “I’m Still Standing.”

Guitarist John Rachkoskie took the crowd through a smooth performance of an Eric Clapton classic, prefacing his performance by noting, “There’s a lot of talent here in Sanford. I was pleased when they invited me to be down here with you folks.”

Bob Bourassa – identifying himself as a Sanford High graduate of the Class of 1970 – sang Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” with the audience chiming in at all the right beloved refrains.

Avery Dyer and Dylan Cao, two members of the Sanford High School Drama Club, performed a heartfelt duet, “Suddenly Seymour,” from their upcoming production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” Williams told the audience that the play, which will hit the SPAC stage this spring, is the first musical at Sanford High in a decade.

Marita Lowell performed “Waiting for My Dearie,” from the musical “Brigadoon.” Lorraine Masure backed her up on the grand piano.

The Sassy Seniors, a group that performs from time to time at the Nasson Little Theater, filled the auditorium with good feeling, singing “West Virginia,” by John Denver, and “This Little Light of Mine,” with director Arlene Jackson occasionally turning to the audience and, arms swooping, festively inviting the audience to sing along. The audience couldn’t resist.

Doug Spaulding and Danielle Adams took their cues from movie star Bradley Cooper and singer Lady Gaga and showed a lot of chemistry as they sang “Shallow,” the Oscar winning ballad from the recent motion-picture remake of “A Star is Born.” Williams asked Spaulding, a friend of his, to remain on stage and, after a bit of banter, the two men broke out into a comically well-timed show tune.

Dr. Morton Gold performed Chopin acoustically on the Steinway Grand Piano – the very one he selected himself for the new auditorium during a trip to New York Center last year.

Ellie Ricketts, all of 7 years old, showed tremendous grace and balance and earned much audience applause while performing feats of gymnastics.

In between acts, Williams spoke a bit about the Sanford Performing Arts Center, which opened in December, just a couple of months after the new Sanford High School and Regional Technical Center itself opened in October. He noted that the original plans for the new high school – the ones that were a part of the $92 million that state was putting up for construction funds – included a much smaller vision for an auditorium. He added that local voters approved a bond, however, that made the larger, 854-seat Sanford Performing Arts Center at the new high school a reality.

“You made this possible,” Williams told those in the audience who responded when he asked for a show of hands from taxpayers.

Williams also thanked The Genest Foundation, which awarded a grant of $250,000 toward the construction of the center and some of the equipment it needed.

“They had the naming rights,” Williams said of the foundation’s members. “They could have called this The Genest Center. But they wanted this to be a community asset.”

Indeed, as Williams said in an interview last year, the auditorium is named the Sanford Performing Arts Center, as opposed to the Sanford High School Performing Arts Center, because the auditorium is intended for all in the community.

Near the end of the evening, City Manager Steven Buck took the stage and presented a bouquet of flowers to his former executive assistant, Sherry Lord, who spearheaded the city’s yearlong efforts to celebrate its 250th anniversary. Earlier this year, Lord resigned from her position after 18 years of service in Sanford, in order to accept a new job in another community.

Buck recounted the activities that Lord and her colleagues organized and carried out during the past year — a launch party with fireworks and proclamations last February, an old-fashioned barn dance last July, and a brew fest at Goodall Park last August — and also noted other events that helped marked the anniversary.

“Thank you very much, Sherry,” Buck said. “This would not have happened without you. You have the appreciation of our city.”