Justin Skillnik performs with his band

Justin Skillnik performs with his band

Local youth impress judges at talent competition

  • Mar. 4, 2011 3:00 p.m.

Our kids have proved they have oodles of talent once again.

Auditions for the third annual Our Kids Have Talent, which sees musicians between the ages of eight and 18 compete for prizes, were held over the weekend at St. James Hall, and this year 12 finalists were chosen over the usual 10.

Serving as judges this year were local music instructor/musician Craig Carmody, Betty Anne Northup of Vernon Recording, and Lance Carr of Wentworth Music, who became deadlocked in choosing the finalists for ninth and 10th position.

“It was almost impossible. They were all so amazing that the scores were literally a quarter of a percent apart, and the last thing we wanted to do was break their hearts,” said Northup. “Some of the kids are just finding their way musically and we can hardly wait to see what they show us next year.”

The auditions saw young talent from all over the valley perform.

“Every year it’s so different,” said Our Kids organizer Kath Raeber, who is also founder of Vernon’s Rarearth Music Festival. “The first year our age group was eight to 12 year olds; last year 12 to 16 year olds. This year we have a collage of classical music, theatre, from pop to jazz to blues, folk, and spiritual by 15 to 17 year olds, as well as younger.”

Okanagan parents have also once again gone above the call and handed the organizers their musically gifted children, telling the judges, ‘you make my child’s dream come true’, said Raeber.

“While there were some very disappointed kids and that’s the worse part of this, I’ve since got emails, which I’m told is actually old school –– I should be texting of facebooking –– saying ‘I loved this Kath – it was sooooo worth it,’ ‘I’m going to work really hard and come back next year,’ and ‘I’m going to win.’”

The top 12 will now vie for approximately $10,000 in cash and prizes, sponsored by Kiss FM, Rarearth Music Fest and Wentworth Music, at the final event March 12 at St. James Hall.

First place prize is $3,000 plus the winner is automatically entered into the top 10 at the Armstrong IPE Talent Competition.

More information is available at the Our Kids Have Talent Facebook page. Those who visit the Our Kids Have Talent YouTube site can vote for their favourite act by clicking on like. A prize for best marketer, sponsored by Bannister Chevrolet, will also be awarded.

The top 12 are:

––  Megan Abel, 15, singer/songwriter

–– Elise Wilson, 17, dancer, and musical theatre performer

–– Brandon Schmor, 16, boogie blues piano man

–– Nikita Afonso, 17, singer/guitarist

–– Sean “Blues Puppy” Riquelme, 14

–– Gallon’s Corner featuring Avery Pozdnikoff, 16, Jim Lagerquist, 15, and Connor Whiskin, 16

–– Abby Gregori, 17, guitar and vocalist

–– Alexander Khazen, 16, classical singer/pianist

–– Brothers of the Blues Room, featuring Jesse, 15, and Jake Hubner,17

–– Vincent Li, 14, classical violinist, pianist and trumpet player

–– Beamer Wigley, eight, country and blues guitarist/singer

–– Twin brothers Tyler and Ryan Wiebe 14, guitarists and singers

The Our Kids Have Talent gala takes place at the St. James Hall, 2700 – 28th Ave., March 12. Seats are limited. Tickets are $15 plus HST for adults,  Children 12 and under are free. Call Kath at (250) 938-2231 for further details.