Kyrsten Johnson performed in Elk Valley’s Got Talent and won in the youth category. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Elk Valley’s Got Talent finalists perform at Coal Miner Days

On Friday, June 9, Sparwood hosted the third annual Elk Valley’s Got Talent (EVGT) show, which put six individuals and three groups against each other for the top spot.

Dino Pallone, Nicole Pallone and Kyra Von Matt were the individuals in charge of judging the competition. The competition could not have taken place without the mind of EVGT event director and coordinator, Marcia Johnson.

Last year, Von Matt won EVGT, and returned this year to judge the competition. Von Matt went to UBC to study classical and jazz music, and just returned from Nelson and Selkirk where she completed the contemporary music and vocal studies program.

Nicole Pallone has been a judge since the beginning, and returned once again this year, and was joined by her husband, Dino Pallone. Both Dino and his wife have a background in theatre and drama.

Every year the talent show holds auditions in Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford. With this, each contestant chosen receives 20 minutes of coaching, which they must incorporate into their act before the final performance.

“It’s a good experience for all of us,” said Nicole.

Competitors were broken into youth and adult categories. Competing in the youth category were guitarist Jordan Webber, the Fly Away Girls tap dancing team featuring Leah Soetaert, Annika Fait, Clodagh Dressler and Olivia Sombrowski. The Runaway Baby tap dancing team was comprised of Holly Soetaert, Jayden Rumple, Annika Chatterson, Kate Brennan and Dawson Luke. Kyrsten Johnson performed in the youth category, and stunned the audience with her guitar and vocal combo. Runaway Baby and Kyrsten Johnson were chosen to battle it out in the final.

The adult category saw five groups perform including One Man Band, Dr. Erik Thorlakson, a metal band comprised of Jennivive, Rosita, and Rick Lopez, and ukulele singer/songwriter, Robin Hansom, a drummer, Ethan Musil, and country singer and guitar player, Keyten Kunst.

Kyrsten Johnson took first place for the youth category and won $500. One Man Band, Dr. Erik Thorlakson walked away with the top adult prize of $1000.

Johnson was complimented on her beautiful voice, her skill with a guitar and comfort behind the microphone. Thorlakson was complimented on his vocal, and multitasking abilities.

“We take arts very seriously here in the valley,” said Nicole. “As we should!”

For Dino, his favourite part of the talent show is seeing the energy in young talent.

“I can remember back when I was quite small, walking onto the stage for the first time, how nervous I was and how many mistakes I made, how many times I fumbled through things.” said Dino. “I thought it was the worst experience of my life. But then hearing the other people give me feedback afterwards, which then boosted me back up and made me realize, hey, you know what, this was fun, this was a great experience, I can take a lot away from this.”

When Von Matt grew up, she didn’t have an outlet like this to express herself and be taught. She’s excited every year to give the students that chance.

“There’s so much talent here,” said Von Matt.

“There is so much talent here, but there’s not a lot of chance for you to express that talent,” echoed Nicole. “So it excited me to be a part of a show that gives people an opportunity to showcase that artistic side.”