From songwriting to drumming to urban dance craziness, talent that wants to get noticed spent the evening working the stage at Freddy’s Brewpub Saturday en route to the Talented Kelowna finals.
And man was it stressful for those of us judging.
From the UBCO urban dance team, who managed to add backup entertainment and a show of incredible sportsmanship to nearly every performance, to the steady stream of sweat pouring down singer Jeff Piattelli’s brow, every performer pulled out all the stops.
Ultimately, each act wins in this gig. By the time the group whittles down to the top 11 performers, many of whom come out of the Festivals Kelowna performance stream, they are all likely to be found busking and working the area’s major events, like the Canada Day celebration or on a Parks Alive stage.
But trying to decide which of the many singer songwriters outstrip the others and how a song’s merits stack up against the ability to make one’s shoulder look like it’s a spinning top is a task only Simon Cowell would relish.
There were a few standouts and, by far and away, young guns Honest Woods brought down the house. Originally based out of Penticton, founders Annie Scott and Dustin McGifford took the stage with their new Kelowna-based drummer Joshua Ertman and got the entire room involved.
From their polished black and red outfits, to Scott’s delightful, occasionally English-accent touched voice, they managed to take what was largely an evening of impressive performances and turn their moment to shine into an experience audience and performers alike could share.
Chloe and Loewen took an equally unique approach with their string and guitar act, pulling those listening away from the bar atmosphere into the world of her beautiful voice.
Loewen’s cello seemed to trace Chloe’s vocal footprint as she ever so quietly drew their sound out to dance around the room in a performance you could never quite see coming and wouldn’t dare to turn away from, even for a moment.
And for those who have watched Piattelli develop, perhaps caught him at the Kelowna Art Gallery’s parties or local music awards, his turn on the stage was quite the reward.
It’s always amazing to see someone come into their own, and adding a mixing board to his performance of his song Superman, he brought it home to become one of the final acts for the grand finalé at the Kelowna Community Theatre.
There’s a fair bit on the line in this competition. Hosted by the new non-profit organization local singer/songwriter and entertainment guru Ryan Donn has assembled, Creative Okanagan, there is over $8,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs, including recording time.
The final evening will see Donn on stage performing along with some of the youngsters from Talented Kids, a program run by Creative Okanagan to help shape the kinds of opportunities the young adults in this competition are all poised to take on.
The final chance to see some of the top talent working in the valley today is in the 1st Annual Creative Okanagan Showcase on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available through eventbrite.ca or Creative Okanagan.
It is definitely not to be missed, although the judges for this final round have a very difficult task cut out for them indeed.
Jennifer Smith (pictured above) is the entertainment reporter and a columnist for the Capital News.