Langley has talent — that’s a simple fact, says Peter Luongo.
Now, it’s just a matter of uncovering it.
In an effort to discover some of the most entertaining people Langley has to offer, the community’s four Rotary clubs have joined forces to present a talent competition in the vein of Canadian Idol or So You Think You Can Dance.
The way society is going, holding a talent contest was the obvious thing to do, said Luongo, a member of the Rotary Club of Langley and director of Langley Ukulele Ensemble.
“They’re big now. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing one.”
Whether it’s singing, dancing or another type of performance altogether, Luongo believes there is no shortage of people who are just dying to step onto a stage and say, “Look what I can do!”
The contest — appropriately titled Langley Has Talent — is already underway, with video auditions being accepted online until Feb. 23. And the parameters are broad, with all forms of family-friendly talent open to consideration.
“If you reside in Langley and are either a solo or part of an entertainment act, we want you to come forward and participate,” Luongo said.
The contest is open to residents of surrounding communities, as well, he added, but organizers would like to see a strong Langley contingent in the mix.
There are, of course, a couple of caveats: No animal acts or pyrotechnics, and no pros.
“We’re not looking for professionals; we’re looking for up and comers.”
If performers have previous experience, if they’ve played a few gigs, for example, that’s OK, said Luongo.
“But obviously we’re not looking for people who make their living as professional entertainers.”
Based on what he’s seen during his years as an educator and entertainer in Langley, Luongo anticipates a huge response to the call.
“We believe we’re going to get hundreds of entries,” he said.
But there is only one top prize, and the first Langley Has Talent winner will be selected through a series of stages.
The initial cut will select the top 100 acts which will perform at a general audition. From there, contenders will be whittled to 30 who will perform in a semifinal live performance.
The winner will be crowned during the finals, to be held on April 30 at Christian Life Assembly.
The Rotarians are grateful for the use of the 1,400-seat church on 56 Avenue, but they have their sights set on creating a space designed specifically for the arts.
“We’re optimistic that one day in the not-too-distant future, performance contests like this will be able to occur in Langley’s own theatre,” Luongo said.
And that, is precisely where all this is headed.
One of the main purposes of the contest is to help raise both awareness and funds for a performing arts venue in Langley.
The focus of the Rotary Clubs is not the actual construction of an arts centre, but to help Langley residents understand need for one, Luongo stressed.
“We all agreed it’s a good community event — especially when it brings awareness to the need for an arts centre.”
“Our role is to raise awareness … in the citizenry, so when the discussion evolves, there is understanding of the need.
“We want young people to have an understanding of the theatre experience.”
That means giving them the opportunity to see first class entertainment in a building designed specifically for the purpose.
“We are the only, and I mean the only, community (in the area) without a legitimate performing arts centre in it,” he said.
The rewards of having a proper theatre will reach far beyond the music and drama communities, he said.
Area restaurants will benefit from having a venue for top-notch entertainment in the community as will local shops, he believes, as people come to Langley to see a show and make a day of it in the community.
Anyone who wants to take part in the competition is invited to register online at
langleyhastalent.com and start practising, he said.
Ideally, audition videos will be loaded on YouTube and the link forwarded, according to instructions on the site. Videos can be sent in directly as well.
Acts will be judged based on the number of online votes received, audience reaction and the opinions of a panel of three celebrity judges — whose names will be revealed at a later date, Luongo said.
The 100 acts selected to audition will be charged a fee of $25 per individual, $50 per duo and $75 per group.