Hard-working performers, aiming for a professional career, like Alora Killam, enjoy the chance to take part in the outdoor Duncan Has Talent competition at Charles Hoey Park. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen file)

VIDEO: Get ready: Duncan Has Talent is just around the corner

The long-running contest that offers money prizes to talented Valley young musicians, returns soon

All you Cowichan Valley young people, it’s nearly time for Duncan Has Talent 2019.

This program of mentorship alongside competition has proven itself as a beneficial factor in encouraging young talent to continue to strive for their dreams.

Yes, the Duncan Has Talent ‘competition’ comes with that mentorship component. In the preliminary sessions, after each song, a panel of mentors/judges pronounce kudos where deserved and hand out advice as to how to improve where needed.

It is that acceptance of the mentorship given that dictates who moves on in the attempt to win the prize money contributed for four years now by the Lions Club of Duncan.

The prize money is $300 for first place, $200 for second, and $100 for third in each category.

There is only room for nine contestants in each category so if you want to register, make sure that you make contact with the festival as soon as possible.

Even if you don’t make the group the first time, do check in right up to event time in case of cancellations. All entrants must be 19 years old or younger and are asked to have two pieces prepared to perform.

It’s also important that competitors have signed in with the tech/mentors at the park by 4:45 p.m. each day at the latest. This little bit of pre-prepration makes everything go more smoothly. As people who have been attending this event for years will tell you, there is much hidden talent in the youth of our community.

They all sure could use some knowledgeable encouragement and, of course, as much applause as possible. So, why not attend as many performances as possible to cheer them on?

First up, starting with preliminaries on July 3-4 is the extremely popular dance competition. The finals for this group will start at 5 p.m. on Friday evening, July 5.

We’ve all seen some previous winners from Duncan Has Talent go on to greater things: Vance Driver competed this year for North America at a huge international street dance competition on China, and Carlow Rush competed as part of the duo Funkanometry in the TV show World of Dance.

The hard-fought cover tunes/show tunes category takes the stage at Charles Hoey Park the following week. Preliminaries in this one take place on July 10-11 with the finals hitting the stage on Friday, July 12.

That particularly brave group of musicians who write their own songs have their own week starting July 24.

Mentoring for these competitors takes place July 24-25 with the finals on stage July 26.

All these events start at 5 p.m. nightly so stop on the way home from work and celebrate our young talent.

The final category this year is instrumental music. Preliminaries start on July 31, and continue Aug. 1 with the finals taking place on Friday, Aug. 2.

For any competitors in Duncan Has Talent, there is open-mic rehearsal time at 4 p.m. on July 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30.

Contact longevityjohn@shaw.ca for more information.

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Talented young singers such as Natalie Gelder are a delight for the audience who gather nightly at 5 p.m. to see what’s happening on the Duncan Has Talent stage. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Lake Cowichan’s Amanda Nixon brings her intensity to the Duncan Has Talent stage. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen file)

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