Twenty-three enter, 10 to compete for Shuswap Idol win

Entrants ages 7 to 88 try out for spot on stage at Salmon Arm Fair.

Barb Brouwer


Could a career in music be in the works for some Shuswap Idol contestants?

Organizer Shelley Desautels believes the possibility is real.

Some 23 would-be contestants showed up for auditions for the popular Salmon Arm Fair program on Aug. 22, with a total of 10 making it into the competition.

From the ages of seven to 88, they performed rock, Broadway and even opera tunes, says Desautels, with two girls playing a ukulele and singing their own songs.

“It was pretty female-dominated – with three brave guys,” she says, noting Carson Venne has competed for many years and has moved into the adult category this year. “We’ve asked Terry Kirstein, an older gentleman, to come and perform on Sunday as a guest.”

Desautels says that while he didn’t make it into the competition, organizers wanted to showcase Kirstein’s a cappella performance.

Contestants in the youth category (up to 16 years of age) include 10-year-old Joy Braby; Alegria Koch, 13; Evany Roy, 11; Catalina van der Smith, 14 and 15-year-old Molly Tudan.

In the adult division, 17-year-old Venne will be joined by Tirzah Vetter, 17; Mary-Rose Mack, 41; Linzy Lunkwist, 57 and Nicia Salmen, whose age was not available.

All contestants will perform on the Main Stage every night of the fair – Friday 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday from 6:30 to 7:35 p.m. At 8:40 Idol winners will be announced and winners will perform Sunday from 1:45 to 2:15 p.m., beginning with Kirstein.

Read more: Brian Minter to share passion for gardens and greenspaces at Salmon Arm Fair

Read more: Performers shine in Idol

Read more: Salmon Arm Fair attendance best in 10 years

This years Shuswap Idol judges include Deana Slack, a dance teacher at Just For Kicks, Dan Engelland of the Dan Engelland Trio and Joanne Stacey, a Sicamous music teacher and member of the Shuswap Rock Band.

Desautels won the Shuswap Idol contest in 2015 and was a judge for two years following her win. This is the second year she has co-ordinated the idol program, having taken it over from longtime organizer Lori Risling who now lives in Saskatchewan.

“The number of contestants that have talent blew me out of the water – the judges have a hard, hard job ahead of them,” she says of the great way Shuswap Idol highlights the talent of area music teachers as well as contestants. “Even at such a young age they are getting up on the stage with powerful voices. One day we’re gonna be saying I’ saw them at the Shuswap Idol audition.”

Winners in youth and adult categories each win $500, with second-place winning $250 and third-place contestants taking home $175.

The 122nd Salmon Arm Fair runs Sept. 6, 7 and 8 at the fairgrounds. Once again, the “$5 before five” entrance fee is in place Friday for those who arrive at the fair before 5 p.m.

There is a 2 p.m. start to the fair this year as a presentation by world-famous master gardener Brian Minter will takes place between 3 and 4:30 p.m.

The annual parade features new entries and will begin at 10:40 a.m. Sept. 7 at Shuswap Street and 10th Avenue SE and will end at Lakeshore Drive near the old Greyhound Bus station.


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