Lake Country Open Mic awards three prizes due to depth of musical talent

Third annual showcase of Okanagan singer songwriters has talent level go through the Lake Country Coffee House roof

Aaron Gordon was this year's top winner at the 2014 Lake Country Open Mic Has Talent Contest.

The Lake Country Open Mic Has Talent Top 5 event earlier this month was quite a night for original singers and songwriters from the Okanagan.

Performances from Madeleine and Abby Ertel, Anjuli Otter, Ben Klick, Aaron Gordon, Brandy Moore and Michael Painchaud were met with unquestionable appreciation from the audience after the judges insisted on six musicians being invited to perform at this Top 5 event as the quality was too good to narrow it down.

The night began with two original songs from well-known and talented adjudicator Ryan Donn who lifted the energy in the room and had the audience singing along before the top six hit the stage.

After hearing an amazing array of talented musicians, the judges were challenged with determining the winner of the contest. In fact, the decision was so difficult that Dan Marcelino and Alicia Gregori, of the duo 2Step Closer, extended their performances to give the judges more decision time.

Instead of determining only one winner it was decided that three musicians would receive recognition.

Aaron Gordon was chosen as the Lake Country Open Mic Has Talent 2014 winner after he mesmerized the audience with his own Spoken Word and other heartfelt original songs. As the top winner, Gordon received a multitude of performance opportunities and recording studio time with DMA Studios.

It was “a widely diversified and eclectic evening of music that I am overjoyed to have been a part of and to continue to support,” said Gordon.

Brandy Moore, who recently returned to the Okanagan after spending time in Saskatchewan and recording her latest CD in Nashville, walked away with second place, winning a performance slot at the IPE and recording studio time.

“This experience has been invaluable in helping me to get my name out there,” said Moore. “I’d like to send out a big thank you to everyone involved, including the owners and staff at the Lake Country Coffee House, all the organizers and professionals who donated their time, and all the songwriters and music lovers who came out to share and support live music.”

Third place winner, Ben Klick celebrated his 18th birthday the day after his performance and enjoyed a rousing rendition of the Happy Birthday song from the audience at the Coffee House. Klick won performance time through Festivals Kelowna.

“I really enjoyed being involved in Lake Country Open Mic Night,” said Klick.  “Through (organizer) Jennifer’s tremendous support of the arts, these nights at the Lake Country Coffee House provide a wonderful opportunity to connect artists and the community to showcase what the Okanagan has to offer.”

Organizer Jennifer Boal said the event continues to grow beyond what she imagined when she started the open mic contest and was elated with this year’s contest.

Boal congratulated all the musicians that participated and thanked the Lake Country Open Air Performance Society and the Central Okanagan Foundation for sponsoring this event and along with the help she received along the way from individuals such as Donn, Justen Gordon, Carol and Sean Sproule, Dan Marcelino, Alicia Gregori, Karen Miller and Janet Stein

“I can’t wait for next year,” she said.

For more information on the event, go to www.lakecountryopenmic.ca.

The fourth annual event will happen in the spring 2015 but in the meantime Open Mic nights will resume  May 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lake Country Coffee House and will be held the first Wednesday of every month.

“Building a fan base, along with your network and contacts is what it is all about when it comes to having your music heard and getting it out to a wider audience,” said Klick. “Open Mic has helped a lot with that, and opened up doors to other opportunities that I would not have had otherwise.”