Bay­ham Has Tal­ent, and lots of it

Tillsonburg News - - FRONT PAGE - Chris Ab­bott cab­bott@post­media.com

It was a last-minute de­ci­sion for Shaelee Shep­pard to au­di­tion for Bayfest Has Tal­ent, and it paid off Sun­day when she won the in­au­gu­ral event in Port Rowan.

“This is the first year for Bayfest Has Tal­ent,” said new Bayfest com­mit­tee mem­ber Pauline Lemke, who co­or­di­nated Sun­day evening ’s tal­ent show.

“Seems like it was quite a hit, too. A lot of peo­ple watch­ing, so that was re­ally nice.”

A vol­un­teer at the Port Rowan school and in the com­mu­nity, Lemke came up with the idea for Bayfest Has Tal­ent af­ter see­ing how much tal­ent there was in the vil­lage and area.

“I thought, ‘let’s show­case this at Bayfest!’”

Fif­teen mu­si­cal artists au­di­tioned prior to the event at the Port Rowan Le­gion, all of them singers and/or mu­si­cians, al­though one with­drew prior to go­ing on stage Sun­day.

It was open to more than just singers and mu­si­cians, how­ever. Or­ga­niz­ers ex­pected some dancers. And they had a ma­gi­cian, but it just didn’t work out.

“It’s just the way Port Rowan is, I guess. Lots of peo­ple like to sing.”

The event was also open to all ages - and they com­peted in one open di­vi­sion.

“We would have done dif­fer­ent age groups if more of dif­fer­ent ages came out. This year there were a lot more kids than adults, but next year I think it will be dif­fer­ent now that adults can see ‘oh I can try out for that.’”

Sun­day’s com­peti­tors in­cluded Holly Pit­tock (Some­one Like You), Jeff Smith (Hal­lelu­jah), Aubrey Wood (Hurt), Kara Brown (Rip­tide), Zoey Schultz (Mean), Quade Kelly (Joe), Emily Mole (1000 Years), Shaelee Shep­pard (five dif­fer­ent fid­dle tunes), Madi­son Brazeau (Per­fect), Tay­lor Holmes (Death of a Bach­e­lor), Rachel Brown (Hap­pier), Ezrah Schultz (Fight Song), Jeff and Doug Smith (Man of Con­stant Storm), and Kait­lyn Hecker (Sign of the Times).

In­stru­ments ranged from ukelele to elec­tric and acous­tic guitars, to pi­ano and fid­dle.

Play­ing in front of over­flow­ing dock­side bleachers, and the five judges, each per­formed one song, or med­ley of songs in the case of Shep­pard from Brant­ford, who had the crowd clap­ping along.

Sec­ond place went to Kara Brown, who sang Rip­tide while play­ing ukelele, and third went to the singer-gui­tar duet of Jeff and Doug Smith, per­form­ing Man of Con­stant Sor­row.

Be­fore an­nounc­ing win­ners, Lemke noted the judg­ing was very close and it was not an easy de­ci­sion com­ing up with three win­ners.

“Yeah, they (judges) were all over the place,” Lemke smiled.

Judges gave each en­ter­tainer a mark out of 10, but ad­ding up the fi­nal scores did not re­sult in clearcut win­ners.

“At the end there was a few ties, so that’s where all the ar­gu­ments came in. They didn’t agree with each other. But that’s fine, ev­ery­one has their own taste. That is why we chose five very dif­fer­ent judges - we wanted five very dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives.”

Bayfest Has Tal­ent or­ga­niz­ers agreed it was a very suc­cess­ful event and hope to bring it back next year.

“I hope so, it was well re­ceived,” Lemke nod­ded.

Chris Ab­bott/Till­son­burg news

Brant­ford's Shaelee Shep­pard played the fid­dle Sun­day to win the first ever Bayfest Has Tal­ent show in Port Rowan.

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