Connor Nelson, winner of the 2017 Delta's Got Talent 13-15 age cateory.
It was nearly a year ago that the Tsawwassen Sun Festival put the call out to the community to find young residents with a passion for singing, dancing or playing an instrument. The inaugural competition, Delta's Got Talent, would feature contestants between the ages of 13 and 19, performing on the main stage on BC Day in front of thousands of festival visitors.
Event organizer Jennifer Bach was hoping the competition would showcase the abilities of Delta's youth. But she had no idea they would be as good as they were.
"I was really impressed with their composure," she recalls of last year's event. "You might look at young people and think they're just doing it for fun, but each and every one of our contestants last year were professionals. They just did a really fantastic job."
One of the biggest discoveries from the show was that of singer and pianist Connor Nelson, who ended up winning for the 13-15 age category. The Tsawwassen resident's cover of "Rise Up" by Andra Day showcased his tremendous vocal range and emotional depth in his singing.
Like many of the kids performing in Delta's Got Talent, Jennifer was introduced to music at an early age. Her father was a musician and introduced her to the piano at the age of two, beginning lessons by four.
"Growing up I was always in the music programs at school, either in music class singing or in musical theatre in drama class," says Jennifer, who grew up in North Delta before moving to Sunny Tsawwassen.
Now an adult, Jennifer was looking for a way to share her musical passion in a way that could bring exposure to young people and an opportunity for them to launch a career in the performing arts. Taking inspiration from successful television shows, she hatched the idea to start a competition that would give kids that opportunity on a stage where everybody in Tsawwassen could see them.
"I just really enjoy music and I know there are a lot of talented kids out there. I love watching programs like The Voice or Dancing with the Stars and America's Got Talent. I thought it would be great to have a platform for Delta kids to showcase their talents."
Registration for 2018 is now open! Contestants must live in Delta and be between 13 and 19 years of age on the date of the live event. Accepted performances are vocal (musical or acapella solo or group), instrument, dance, solo artists or duets. Other talents will be accepted on a case by case basis.
Applicants can audition by sending a YouTube link to Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org by July 5. You can also drop off a USB or CD to the Tsawwassen Arts Centre (1172 56th Street). Please limit auditions to less than three minutes.
The top 25 contestants will be chosen by a panel of judges and all entrants will receive an email of the results. The competition will take place on the Main Stage at the Tsawwassen Sun Festival in Winskill Park on Monday, Aug. 6. Age groups will be separated into 13-15 and 16-19 year olds.
Visit sunfestival.ca to find more information on contest rules and fill out an application. Good luck!