All the way from Saskatoon, Sask., Darryl Andersen’s performance May 8 at the Ponoka Stampede Talent Show audition was good enough to land him a spot in the top 10. Those 10 performers will then head to the main stage during the Ponoka Stampede June 27. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Ponoka artists make it to the Ponoka Stampede Talent Show

The big Stampede talent show comes on June 27 this year with a full band

There’s a few local musicians who made the cut for the Ponoka Stampede Talent Show.

Held over two days from May 7 to 8 at the Stagecoach Saloon, close to 40 budding artists took to the stage for a chance to showcase their skills at Ponoka Stampede’s June 27 talent show.

Along with singing in front of a large crowd, the musicians will be in the running for their choice of a one day recording session at MCC Recording Studio in Calgary courtesy of Dave Temple (value $1000), a song writing and mentoring session with Bobby Wills, or a $3,000 guitar courtesy of Gilmore Guitars in Red Deer (Dave Gilmore) and the Ponoka Stampede.

This year’s winning artists are quite the variety with several young singers, the youngest being 13-years-old, being selected for the show.

Along with two Ponoka singers and one Rimbey artist being selected, there were two others who made the trip from Saskatchewan that were picked to the top 10.

For judges Abbey White, a veteran broadcaster, Vinnie Taylor of Real Country 95.5 and David Gilmore of Gilmore Guitars, they’re looking for someone who has a strong presence on stage.

“For me it’s just something that makes the hair on my arms stand up,” explained White. “You get lots of singers that are pretty good but then you get somebody that…you just stop what you’re doing.”

“They make everyone in the room stop what they’re doing and pay attention the entire time.”

For Taylor, that “It” factor works when someone makes a strong connection with the audience, plus they have confidence and can sing well. “Song selection is super important too.”

Unless an original song is done well, it’s difficult to connect with the crowd, he added.

“I think as judges, you just know when you hear it if they’re going to go on,” said Gilmore.

Taylor added that if a performer doesn’t sing a song with the proper pitch or tone, it could hurt them in the competition. Despite these challenges, the judges all agreed that these talent shows, while nerve wracking, are an ideal testing ground for a performer.

“I think it’s a great barometer of your talent,” said Gilmore, adding that the show is also an ideal place to compare oneself against others.

White added that the young musicians are able to videotape their performance and see how they do on stage. They can then make improvements from those reviews.

And the winners are:

Darryl Anderson from Saskatoon, Sask.; Dante Rice (13) from Rocky Mountain House, Kayla and Matt Hotte from Adrossan, Martina Dawn (14) from Devon, Jaret Matthews from Rimbey, Taylor Pilgrim from Calmar, Kiefer Paul from Rosthern, Sask.; Linden Buffalo from Ponoka, Chloe Shingoose (14) from Stettler and Roslyn Gibson (16) from Ponoka.


The young Ponoka singer, Roslyn Gibson, 16, had a strong enough performance on guitar that she’s also heading to the big stage during the Ponoka Stampede. Of the 10 performers picked, there were two from Ponoka along with one from Rimbey. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

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