If you love to sing, but you’ve never stepped onstage in front of a crowd of people to do it, maybe you’ve just never had the proper motivation. How does $1,500 sound? That’s the top prize for the winner of the Superstar competition, taking place at the Yukon Arts Centre on Feb. 20 during Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous. The event is a huge confidence-builder, said Robyn Gillespie, organizer of this year’s event.
Gillespie hasn’t performed at previous Superstar competitions, but she does regularly sing at open mics including Epic Pizza’s Whitewater Wednesdays, and evenings at Whiskey Jack’s. She also ran for Rendezvous Queen in 2016, so she’s seen how events such as open mics and Rendezvous contests can bring out a different side of people.
“What I really love about Superstar Spectacular is that it gives amateur performers a chance to perform on a big stage,” she said. “I think it gives them a chance to do something big with their art.”
She said she also likes that it’s not geared toward any particular age.
“This year we have performers everywhere from 12 to 45 years old. It’s really nice for all age ranges, that it’s not just a youth thing, but it’s for anyone looking to grow in their art form.”
She said this year’s 12-year old, Heidi Vallier, has been performing at the event for the last three years. Not only is the simple experience of being onstage a big boost for most people, the opportunity to receive feedback is helpful. There are usually three to five judges. This year they include musicians Jona Barr, Rick Sward and Paris Pick, a previous Superstar winner. There’s also a representative from Yukon Energy (which sponsors the event) on the panel.
Gillespie said judges are looking for originality in performances. That could mean putting a unique spin on a cover of an existing song or it could mean writing and performing your own work.
“I think definitely just showing confidence on the stage, and your personality within the performance is key,” she said. “That and audience engagement.”
So far this year, she said there are 10 performers registered. (there are usually between 10 and 14 performers registered in advance of the event.) Anyone can do this by filling out a form with a biography and a YouTube link, typically to the song they plan to perform. The event will be hosted by musician Claire Ness and one of Rendezvous’ Snowshoe Shufflers.
Gillespie said the show doesn’t usually sell out the 150 seat Arts Centre, but if there’s a run on tickets, the venue would open up balcony seating to accommodate the overflow.
Though this is Gillespie’s first year organizing the Superstar competition, she already has ideas for how she might expand on the event in 2020. She’d like to host a concurrent visual art show (when Gillespie ran for queen, her platform was with Splintered Craft, advocating for youth and amateur art) in the lobby of the Yukon Arts Centre. It would just be for the night of the Superstar competition, so audience members could vote on the work as part of the event.
“But I don’t want to reinvent the wheel quite yet,” she said.
Tickets for the event can be purchased online at YukonRendezvous.com, at the Yukon Arts Centre in advance of the show or at the door on the night of the event.