One competitor from Woolwich has made it through to the second round of the Shining Star vocal talent search held by Kitchener radio station Faith FM.
Breslau’s Daniel Gascho is one of 33 singers to make it through to the semi-final round this weekend, which represents almost half of the 60 singers who participated in the preliminary round of competition in late March and early April.
“It feels great. I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m just grateful that I’ve made it through to the next round,” said the 16-year-old.
The competition, started back in 2007, is an opportunity for undiscovered Christian singing talent in the region to be recognized by the musical community, said Faith FM general manager Dave MacDonald.
“Canadian Christian talent hasn’t had much of an outlet in the past because Christian radio is still fairly new to Canada compared to the U.S.,” said MacDonald. “They have literally thousands of radio stations, while we only have few dozen.”
The remaining singers will be broken into three groups and the semi-finals will be hosted by three churches in Waterloo Region; the International Gospel Centre in Kitchener on Apr. 27, Koinonia Christian Fellowship in Bloomingdate today (Saturday) and Calvary United Church in St. Jacobs tomorrow (Sunday). Gascho performed in Kitchener.
MacDonald said that those three churches were selected because they have the space to accommodate the competition, and have also been tremendous supporters of the event in the past.
“In St. Jacobs the church has always been extraordinarily supportive, as has Koinonia in Bloomingdale,” said MacDonald. “It’s really worked well for us to be outside the main streets of Kitchener and Waterloo.”
Following the semi-finals this weekend the field of competitors will be further reduced to between nine and 12 competitors for the finals, to be held on May 12 at Calvary Pentecostal Assembly in Cambridge. The cost to attend the semi-finals is free with a good will offering, while the cost to attend the finals will be $15, with tickets available through TicketWindow or local Christian bookstores.
The winner of the competition will receive a prize valued at $20,000 which includes a professional recording session at Revelation Sound in Guelph for a full 10-song album, along with promotional materials and marketing expertise including photography, video, and help in launching their own website.
All competitors who advance to the finals will also receive a free performance coaching session and a free vocal lesson as well.
MacDonald hopes to see a large crowd this weekend, as well as at the finals, where upwards of 1,000 people have attended in the past.
“The crowds get pretty vocal about who they’re coming to support, it’s kind of neat because everyone brings their own family and friends along and it’s a fun time. Kind of like Canada’s Got Talent on a smaller scale.”
The large crowds do not intimidate Gascho either, as he has been performing since he was 11 years old in front of large crowds at church, and he leads the service each week at The Gospel Centre in Breslau where is father is the pastor.
“I don’t really have nerves; it’s more about what the judges are going to say.
“I think it’s going to be an interesting competition. There are some very good singers.”
For the performances this weekend, doors open at 6 p.m. and the competition begins at 7. For more information visit www.faithfm.com.