Illuminate Shines

I always forget how it long it takes to go through contestants in a talent search.  In my planning, I banked on 5 minutes, but it didn't turn out that way.  During yesterday's preliminary round of the Illuminate Talent Search we had 25 entries.  By the time we wrapped things up and were able to announce the 17 who will be going on to the final round today, it was almost 4 pm.  It was a great afternoon though, full of surprises and delights.

First of all, it has to be said that courage is required to get up there and perform in front of a panel of judges and an audience.  No matter whether you are just starting out or a seasoned veteran, you're still putting yourself out there to be judged.  In that light, every single person who danced, sang, or played an instrument is a winner in my book.  I would be petrified to get up there and perform, despite decades of performance experience as an actor and a speaker.

Variety was in abundance during the first Illuminate Talent Search - the second is coming up August 30th and 31st at Sustainival on MacDonald Island - with Peruvian dance, musical theatre. East Indian fusion, ukelele, classical guitar and even a guitar battle between Matt Cote from Anzac and one of our judges, Dan Gillies from Fort McMurray.

I thought the judges did a brilliant job dishing out solid feedback and encouragement.  Angel Jutzi, Sean Semper-Whyte, Mike Allen, Mychela and Dan Gillies have their jobs cut out for them today.

Here are the 17 finalists:
  1. Laura Lynch - Advanced Dance
  2. Sandra Flores and Katherine - Novice Dance
  3. Matt Cote - Music
  4. Adrian Cook - Music
  5. Gavin Camara - Music
  6. Abigail Elliott and Victoria Beaulne - Intermediate Dance
  7. Victoria Beaulne - Intermediate Dance
  8. Bridget Pomeroy - Novice Dance
  9. Grace Ambali - Music
  10. Amrita Mosale - Music
  11. Brian Wolrond - Music
  12. Fazle Quasha - Music
  13. Ricardo Germain and Mike Hall - Music
  14. Jason Beck - Music
  15. Akshaya Lakshmi - Advanced Dance
  16. Jenna Fewer - Advanced Dance
  17. Samson Lee - Music
Laura Lynch is one to watch, with strong dance skills and a beautiful presentation

Sandra and Katherine brought a taste of Peru to Illuminate, very rhythmic and seductive

Matt is a guitar phenom from Anzac who will have you asking yourself "How does he do it?"

Adrian Cook did a great version of "Runaround Sue" in the preliminary round

9 year old Gavin Camara and his ukelele had everyone talking after his brilliant performance

Abigail and Victoria are a strong dance duo, who impressed the adjudicator with their synchronicity

Victoria also did a solo as part of Illuminate, once again showing her amazing dance skills

Bridget lit up the house with her "Lemonade for Sale" dance routine

Grace Ambali has a beautiful voice and a strong presence on the stage

Amrita Mosale did a great musical theatre piece from Annie

Brian Walrond did a spoken word piece about Wood Buffalo that really hit home

Faz's infectious smile and singing style left a great impression with the crowd

Mike and Ricardo (Adams Honor) have a unique style that grabbed the judges' attentions

Jason Beck belted out "You Raise My Up" and really connected with the audience

Akshaya Lakshmi brought a taste of India to Illuminate, a super-talented 15 year old

Jenna Fewer showed what many years of dance training can do with a gorgeous dance routine

"I never knew a guitar could make those sounds" was one of the comments after Samson Lee's performance

The final round of ILLUMINATE starts at 1 pm in the Keyano Recital Theatre.  Please join us for two hours of entertainment and a glimpse of some potential stars of tomorrow.  Admission is free.


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