This year is the 35th Anniversary of the Stampede Talent Search and the event has some exciting changes in store. The Talent Search was originally created to provide free, Stampede Park entertainment and showcase the talented youth in our community. As interest in the competition grew, a volunteer committee was created to promote and produce the show. Today, along with year-round activities for young performers, the Stampede Talent Search is a well-established youth program of the Calgary Stampede. “Our committee mandate is to discover, develop, encourage and showcase young talented performers between ages 6 and 21,” explains committee chair, Andrew Bunka. To continue furthering the program, 2015 brings some exciting changes to the Stampede Talent Search and their yearlong development opportunities.
One major change to the 2015 Stampede event program is a free audition training workshop. The workshop will be taught by industry professionals and is open to all performers – singers, dancers, actors, musicians, and group and variety acts. Participants will be grouped by talent in order to receive relevant and specific skill development, and a keynote speaker will provide specific tips and tools for a successful audition for the Stampede Talent Search itself. Although the competition is for youth aged 14 to 21, junior performers aged 6 to 13, are welcome to attend the workshop. The younger attendees will receive age-appropriate training in a unique session.
A second exciting change, made possible by our sponsors, is that the Grand Prize has been increased to $10,000. Along with the cash prize, the significance of receiving the Grand Prize provides a customized development package to further grow the champion’s skills and elevate them to help achieve their performance goals.
The Stampede Talent Search will continue hosting events throughout the year, which are designed to provide young performers a place to practice their craft and hone their skills. Youth also learn great performance skills at these events which prepares them for the auditions. Each spring there are Canada-wide auditions held to identify the top 60 performers under 21. These top 60 compete during the ten days of Stampede.
“Part of our strategic plan is to invest in our community,” says director Mike O’Connor who also serves as board liaison with the Stampede Talent Search committee. “The Stampede Talent Search program is an exciting opportunity for us to give back to youth in our community.”
Throughout its 35 year history, the Stampede Talent Search has been the first to shine the spotlight on many up-and-coming performers that have gone on to have successful careers in the entertainment industry. Most notably, Paul Brandt was the 1992 Champion. Other exceptional Champions include Trevor Panczak, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald and accordion virtuoso Michael Bridge. 2008 Champion and beat-boxer James “Peterpot” McInnes and 2013 Champion Annika Odegard were even headlined performers in the 2014 Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show, “Barnburner” performing nightly to crowds of more than 120,000.
Youth interested in this exciting program are encouraged to attend the free audition training workshop. The workshop takes place on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at Lord Beaverbrook High School. Online registration is required for all participants between the ages of 6 and 21; to register, visit www.stampedetalentsearch.com. Canada-wide auditions open early March; information can be found on their website.
The Stampede Talent Search is held nightly during Stampede time in the Boyce Theatre on Stampede Park. See you there!