The Stampede Talent Search committee works year round to discover, encourage, develop and showcase young talent. Along the way, there have been performers who have raised goose-bumps with their talent, reduced the audience to tears, and even become etched in the hearts and minds of committee members for their remarkable achievements.
Ask any committee member who has been around to see the ups and downs of several years of competition and the little moments are shockingly more memorable than the show-stopping ones.
For Colleen Tynan, committee member since 2002, her most memorable moment was following the story of Tara Tennant. “In Tara’s first year auditioning she was nervous and had little stage presence. Three years later, she captivated the audience, drew them in and won the competition.”
For Gay Robinson, committee member since 2010, a similar story. “Each year it is exciting to see contestants come back and be more confident. I love seeing that they have worked hard to grow as people and as performers. I remember a shy young Junior performer who continued on to be a Senior performer and just a few years later won 2nd runner-up!”
And Committee Chair Scott Henderson agrees. “Over the years we get invested in our young performers. My most memorable moment was watching Meg Contini win the Grand Prize. In 34 years, no one has won more money than her – including day money and prize money. To see her finally win was a testament to her talent, her incredible spirit and supportive and positive family. Back then, winning was just the beginning for her. She has achieved a music degree from Humber College (with help from her Stampede Talent Search prize money), and success with several musical projects including her stunning vocal trio the O’Pears.”
Of course, over the years there have been awe-inspiring performances from a handful of diverse talents, such as contortionists, yo-yo artists and a sitar player, but for Roxanne McKendry, without a doubt, Paul Brandt captured her memory.
“In 2004, Paul came to do a special performance during finals. One of the songs he sang was “Leavin’” and the hair on the back of my arms stood-up. It was absolutely electrifying to be that close to such an incredible talent. And emotional to know he started on our stage.”
Auditions kick-off the 2014 season and the entire committee is looking forward to seeing what new memories will be made that will inspire us to work harder on behalf of the incredible young talent we are lucky enough to showcase.
Canada-wide Auditions for the 2014 Stampede Talent Search are open! For video audition information or to sign up for live auditions May 2 to 4, 2014 details can be found at www.stampedetalentsearch.com.