Camryn Sproule

Camryn Sproule

Our Kids step up to the mic for fifth annual talent contest

Auditions are now over and the finalists of the Okanagan's Our Kids Have Talent have been announced.

After hours of deliberation, lots of black coffee, and looking over video submissions and listening to live auditions, the finalists of Our Kids Have Talent have been announced.

And once again there are 12 of them.

Just under 50 young budding musicians ages eight to 18 applied and auditioned this past weekend at St. James School auditorium.

From those who had never been in front of a microphone to those who had auditioned before and are now recording their first albums, the fifth annual talent contest saw a spectrum of talent, said OKHT organizer Kath Raeber.

“Every genre from pop, rap, country, rock n’ roll and everything in between was presented from a cappella to full four-piece bands,” she said. “There were lots of new faces and those that took the judge’s comments from previous years, and with newfound musical maturity, came back with commitment and determination.”

Each musician or band performed two songs of their own choosing and were instructed to use self-produced backtracks or live instrumental accompaniment.

“No karaoke was allowed,” said Raeber. “I wanted them to experience an audience that clapped, hooted, whistled and hollered. Mostly I wanted to find a way to help them with their self-esteem and provide highly respected musicians, singer-songwriters and recording artists to judge their performances and give healthy critique.”

Judges this year were Betty Anne Northup, Jackson Mace, and Craig Carmody.

Entrants were judged on their musical ability, sound (pitch control), stage presence, attitude, and connection to the audience.

The top 12 include: Chantelle Betuzzi, Gallon’s Corner (Avery Pozdnikoff, Connor Whiskin, Tyrell Fraser, Jim Lagerquist), Eli Garlick and Hana Friedman, Gus “El Gusto” Hansen, Morgan Hillis, Ben Klick, Megan Lauridsen, Jesse Mast, Moose People (Austin Boylan, Sage Aronyk, Garnet Aronyk and Jesse Hubner), Olivia Penalva, Camryn Sproule and Beamer Wigley.

Helping with the event were sound engineer John Keith of Killer Sound, stage manager Andy Raeber, green room assistant Betty Chan Klepp, emcee Don Klepp, videographers Achim Gregori and Dan Marcelino, photographers Fiona Forshaw of Image Studios and Kevin Keinlien of Looking at You Photography.

The top 12 performances are now on YouTube, where any “likes” will produce the best marketer’s award.

This year, the Bourbon Street Bar and Grill in the Prestige Hotel has sponsored to hold the OKHT finals on March 9 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6 p.m.) Cash prizes will be awarded along with studio recording time and the opportunity to perform at various festivals.

Tickets are $20/adult, $10/youth, available online at or at the Bean Scene.