Talent shines at Idol

The talent matched the weather at this year’s Shuswap Idol.

Double win: Vocalist Brandi Howard is this year’s Shuswap Idol winner in the over 19 category and the people’s choice.

The talent matched the weather at this year’s Shuswap Idol.

“It was a good solid Shuswap Idol this year,” said Lori Risling who, along with husband Gil, has organized the popular talent  competition at Salmon Arm Fall Fair for seven years.

“It was a great line-up,” she said Monday. “All of them were enthusiastic and all of them were supportive of each other and anxious to sing in front of an audience.”

Risling was also pleased by the audiences during the three days of the fair.

“They were great audiences,” she said. “We had  a record-setting audience Saturday night that stayed for the finish.”

A total of 16 acts were performed on stage, with two girls who performed as a duo also entered as solos.

This year’s $500 winner in the 19 and over category was Brandi Howard, who took home another $500 for also winning the Askew’s People’s Choice Award.

Howard also gets eight hours of studio time.

Formerly of Old Man’s Beard, local artist Jesse Clarke  donated four hours of studio time from his Earth Tone Studios for first-place winners in both the under 18 and 19 and over categories, plus the People’s Choice winner.

“He will work with them to make a single- song CD or even just to get experience in a studio which is quite different from performing live,” says Risling.

Winner of the under- 18 category was Megan Abel, who also took home $500.

Second and third-place winners in the contest sponsored by the Salmon Arm & Shuswap Lake Agricultural Association, included 10-year-old Kyra Bayers in the 18-and-under category, who took home  $250.

Picking up third place and $125 in this category was Megan Lauridsen.

In the 19-and-over group, Jan Parada took second place and $250, with Patrick Halligan winning third place and $125.

“Please don’t think you weren’t good if you didn’t win,” says Risling. “It was close this year and unfortunately there aren’t prizes for everybody.”

Nor, it appears are there enough categories.

Risling said Clarke suggested, to the agreement of all, that there should be a category for singer/songwriter.

“Some of the girls and guys write their own songs, but they’re only judged on vocal performance,” she says, noting, she’ll be looking for someone to sponsor the new category.

“Everybody just applauded when I announced it, so I think that will turn into something really special.”

Risling also thinks Shuswap Idol judges are pretty special.

Dave Byers has been on the panel for six of the seven years.

“He’s my rock, my go-to judge,” says Risling.

So is Norm Sargent, who has been onboard four out of seven years. Two new judges sat on the panel this year – Laura Nelson, who has  played in bands in town for years and Clarke, who adds a younger perspective.

“It’s sad sort of when it’s over, it always seems to go so fast,” said a tired but happy Risling. “It’s such a good positive thing. I am definitely committed to next year already.”

And while auditions are not held until August, anyone who is interested in performing in Shuswap Idol doesn’t have to wait another 11 months.

They can get in touch with Risling now by sending an email to lrisling@telus.net.


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