Contest lets locals showcase talents
If you’ve ever watched Canada’s Got Talent or American Idol and dreamed of having your chance in the spotlight, you might want to sign up for Clash of the Talents — Merritt’s summer talent contest.
Designed to showcase a variety of local talent, the six-week competition, which will kick off on July 28 in Spirit Square, is open to any resident of the Nicola Valley.
“There are so many people in Merritt that are talented and this gives them an opportunity to show their talents,” said Christine Abraria who is organizing the event along with her husband Anthony.
If the potential for fame doesn’t motivate those with hidden talents, then perhaps the cash prizes will. Christine confirmed last Wednesday that first place will receive $1,700, while second place will earn $850 and third will earn $450.
The city-funded competition will be broken down into four rounds — with the first two rounds broken up into two separate heats. Twenty performers will advance to the second round, 10 to the semi-finals and five to the final show, which will be a ‘scaled up’ production at the Merritt Civic Centre on Sept. 1.
Young and old are welcome to participate in the competition, which will feature any talent from ballet to comedy to singing and instrumentals.
“Merritt has held a Battle of the Bands before, but we wanted to find a way that anyone could be included,” said Christine, adding that the interest seems to be there.
Before the Abrarias submitted their proposal to the City of Merritt, they decided to do a bit of market research and posted their idea on Facebook. Within 12 hours of the post, 10 people had already expressed their interest in competing.
Still, Christine says they were hesitant at first about submitting the proposal — both she and Anthony are 26 years old and they have a 17-month-old daughter Emerald. On top of that, Anthony owns his own home-based web development and marking company called Burst-Into-Site, which he started in fall 2011. In the end though, their passion for the community won out.
“I was born in Merritt and Anthony has been here since he was eight, so our passion is there and our roots go way back,” said Christine, a descendent of William Voght. “I’ve seen lots of talented people in the community, so I know they are out there.”
After each show, which will be at venues around the city including Spirit Square and Rotary Park, the audience will be able to vote for their favourite act. The contest will be based solely on these votes and there won’t be any judges.
Up to 40 people will be able to participate in Clash of the Talents and if the applications exceed this number, organizers will hold an audition on July 25th at the Merritt Civic Centre.
Those interested in sharing their talents can pick up applications at Drop Dead Threadz on Quilchena Avenue, or download a PDF from the City of Merritt website www.merritt.ca.
Christine and Anthony will also have a booth downtown during the Great Canadian Bike Rally (July 12-15) and the Chamber of Commerce Street Fest (July 20-21) where people can pick up applications or get more information. The registration deadline will be 6 p.m. on July 21.
The Abrarias (who are also the organizers of the Merritt Cash Mobs, an initiative aimed to encourage people to shop locally) would also like to provide an opportunity for local businesses to set up a booth at each show to tell and market their products.