(From left) Creston's Cara Waddle

(From left) Creston's Cara Waddle

CCMA winner Duane Steele judging Kootenays’ Best Singer contest in Creston

Web Lead

  • Jun. 10, 2014 8:00 a.m.

Sixteen singers will be taking the stage at the Prince Charles Theatre on Saturday to compete for the top spot in the Kootenays’ Best Singer contest, which will name the third annual regional winner.

This year, a celebrity judge will among three taking on the challenge of selecting the best singers — Duane Steele, who has been nominated for Juno Awards and multiple Canadian Country Music Awards, winning CCMAs for vocal collaboration (1997) and independent male artist (2001).

“I’ve known him since I was a kid,” said producer Vern Gorham, who started the contest series in Creston in 2010. “He’s a great singer-songwriter. … It’s exciting to showcase talent from the Kootenays in Creston, but it’s also exciting to bring a person who’s accomplished so much in the music industry to Creston.

After hosting the regional contest in Cranbrook in 2012 and 2013, Gorham is looking forward to bringing some Kootenay talent to Creston on June 14.

“I really felt like it was time to bring the regional contest here, to my home,” said Gorham. “The Creston audience deserves to see some of the great talent I’ve enjoyed through the contest.”

This time, the top three from the March Creston’s Best Singer contest — Cara Waddle, Taya Blackmore and Tamara Leavitt — will compete against the top two from Nelson’s Best Singer — Zoe Strongman and Emma Chart, as well as 11 others from the east and west Kootenays who placed first, second or third in their respective local contests last year.

In addition to the $1,000 top prize, this week’s winner will perform next year at the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Summer Music Festival; 2012 Kootenay winner Trena Spears and 2013 Creston’s Best Singer winner Victoria Bowns will perform there this summer.

Following Saturday’s contest, the action will move to the Snoring Sasquatch for an after party where Steele will perform.

“Between the contest and Duane’s performance, this will be a great evening for music lovers,” said Gorham.

The Kootenays’ Best Singer contest starts at 6 p.m. June 14; tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Combined tickets to the contest and after party are $25 in advance, and tickets for the after party alone are $18 in advance and $25 at the door.