Are you a Beamer Wigley fan?
OK, maybe he’s not a household name just yet, but Penticton’s Beamer Wigley is working his way there one step at a time.
Now eight years old, Wigley got his start in Vernon’s Our Kids Got Talent competition and is entering the upstart Kelowna version this weekend.
“Music is his thing and he loves it,” said his mother Heather Wigley, who admits it now takes up a good deal of her time as well.
Opening for the K-Town Drifters at the Creekside Theatre this Saturday, March 17th—he’s opened for several other artists including indie hit Shane Yellowbird—it will be a very busy weekend for the aspiring star.
Wigley was originally inspired by country music singers like Brad Paisley, but the Vernon competition gave him the opportunity to perform at the Rarearth Jazz and Blues Fest, another of talent competition owner Kath Raeber’s ventures. Raeber gives every participant in the Our Kids Got Talent competition an opportunity to tackle the big festival stage and for Wigley the experience proved the gateway.
This opportunity to perform aspect of talent competitions is what’s motivating the Kelowna effort as well.
Organizer Ryan Donn has been working in the local school system, teaching young kids how to write and record their own music, and is finding he really needs a next stage for the program.
“People were coming to me saying thank you for teaching my kid to write songs; now where can I send them?” said Donn, who admits he didn’t have much of an answer.
As the former president of the Festivals Kelowna board of directors, he had always wanted to see an open mic component incorporated in the Parks Alive performances that take place in neighbourhood parks, but understood there needed to be a screening mechanism. The kids, he figures, might be the answer.
So this Sunday, he’s going to give Kelowna’s young musicians a shot at filling opening act time slots all over the city with the new Talented Kids competition.
“I’ve never had so many people email me to volunteer,” said Donn, whose been receiving unsolicited offers of help from community members who want to get involved.
The winning kids will be offered the chance to perform around town at the Canada Day celebration, Westside Daze, Parks Alive, Music in the Park (the new West Kelowna answer to Parks Alive), and the Fat Cat Festival.
“Kids are always asking me where should I perform and I say: ‘Just start anywhere. If you’ve got a group of friends, start there. If you belong to a church, start there,'” said Donn. “And then this would be like the next step.”
According to his mother, performance has been in his blood since he picked up the drums at age three. If you know a kid who fits this bill, or is simply interested in performing, bring them out Sunday to see judges Rhonda Draper, a local music teacher, and popular crooner Robert Fine.
Auditions will be held in the Mary Irwin Theatre this Sunday, March 18 beginning at 9 a.m. It costs $25 to enter—money going to cover the costs of the theatre.