Salmon Arm country artist Jesse Mast

Salmon Arm country artist Jesse Mast

These kids have talent

Future looks bright for Our Kids Have Talent, which held its fifth annual showcase for musical youth eight to 18 in Vernon Saturday.

It was young people who took over the stage Saturday and showed why there’s a future in music,  especially when it is performed live.

The fifth annual Our Kids Have Talent saw 12 acts of 19 musicians, aged 10 to 18, perform everything from blues, country, pop, rock and more at the Bourbon Street Bar and Grill in the Prestige Hotel.

Although three acts were chosen as the top finalists by judges Betty Ann Northup, Jackson Mace and Craig Carmody, everyone came out a winner, said OKHT organizer and founder Kath Raeber.

“Every young musician knocked the socks off of a bursting-at-the-seams audience,” said Raeber. “Guests were invited into a lounge setting complete with white linens, delicious appetizers by Chef Inna, door prizes from Healthy Spot, Rancho Vignola, and Back to Earth Enviro Products, Production by Killer Sound and mood lighting by Evolution Audio, which created a fantastic high-end gig atmosphere.”

For 18-year-old Vernon vocalist/pianist Morgan Hillis, who took home second prize, the event gave her and her fellow contestants an opportunity to market themselves and share their music in a positive environment.

“At the finale event, I was able to network with other young musicians like myself, which is such an awesome opportunity for all of us to be inspired by people that share a love of music,” she said.

Hillis, along with first place winner Jesse Mast, of Salmon Arm, and Vernon viola/violin duo Hana Friedman and Eli Garlick, who placed third, were given studio recording time.

Fellow finalist Chantelle Betuzzi came away with the prize for best marketer, with just under 2,000 views of her audition video on YouTube, while Beamer Wigley, Moose People, Megan Lauridsen, El Gusto, Camryn Sproule, Ben Klick, Olivia Penalva and Gallon’s Corner also came away with prizes.

“We had some unbelievable prizes available to us,” said Hillis.

“Besides the awesome swag bags, three of us walked away with studio recording time, and a bunch won more performing opportunities at local music festivals just to name a few… I’m really looking forward to recording a track at Henry Piovesan’s studio soon.”

For Raeber, who thanks all the sponsors who contributed to the event, the sense of pride felt by the young musicians was the most rewarding experience.

“The whole experience was a definite game changer in their musical careers as they challenged themselves with stellar performances and a commitment to become the world’s next generation of music makers,” she said.

For more information or to get ready for next year’s event, visit