Illuminate Talent Search I and II

"There is so much talent in this community."

I have heard that statement, in various permutations, at least a hundred times over the years.  It is often spoken because it is true.  Part of my joy has been to contribute to initiatives that shone light on people who have artistic gifts and aspirations.  Whether it was at interPLAY, SummersEnd, WinterPLAY or at the Summer Solstice Picnic in the Park, watching people of all ages step forward and brave an audience has been delightful and surprising.

This summer sees the birth of the ILLUMINATE Talent Search, a program to unearth, encourage and celebrate singers, dancers, musicians and performing artists.

presented by Arts Council Wood Buffalo and Suncor Energy
Keyano Arts Centre
August 9 and 10
Registration, rules and regulations by clicking here

presented by Sustainival at Sustainival
MacDonald Island
August 30 and 31
Registration, rules and regulations by clicking here

The two competitions are slightly different, to make maximum use of the venues, but both will offer a total of $5,000 in prizes, dollars that can make a big difference when it comes to further developing skills, traveling to other competitions, or helping to pay for the next recording project or master class. The community has had tremendous support from Suncor Energy, Arts Council Wood Buffalo, Keyano Theatre, and Sustainival to make this happen.

Having organized, watched and judged several of these talent competitions overs the years, I thought it might be useful to offer some ideas on how to heighten your chances of leaving a great impression with the judges.


PREPARE - this one is a no brainer, but work through your presentation over and over again, so no matter how many butterflies show up on the day, your muscle memory takes over.

BE MEMORABLE - the little things can make a big difference when you're on that stage: the clothes you're wearing, how you introduce yourself, or the eye contact you make with the judges.  Success is predicated on your ability to leave a lasting, positive impression.

BREATHE - right before you climb the steps and get on the stage, take a deep breath and pause for just a brief moment.  Leave all your cares and concerns behind and commit to putting everything you have into your performance.

OWN THE STAGE - in the 5 minutes that you are there, engaging with the audience and judges, performing, and listening to the feedback, the stage is yours - embrace it, own it.

HAVE FUN, BE REAL - the artists who succeed in these competitions tend to have an enormous amount of fun, and come across as incredibly authentic.  Be real and enjoy yourself.

THERE IS NO FAILURE - the moment you climb the steps to the stage you are a winner.  You've overcome fear and taken a positive step forward, no matter how your performance turns out.  Like we say in the angling world:  if your hook isn't in the water, you aren't going to catch anything.  Be proud that you are giving it a try!


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