One of Mount Douglas secondary’s most celebrated former students is coming back to mark the school’s 80th anniversary – and to crown its next star.
“I tried to be a normal kid,” said multi-Grammy award-winning producer David Foster of his time spent at the school throughout the 1960s. “I played baseball, but I was not that athletically inclined. Sorry to say that I was pretty geeky. I pretty much just did the music and it consumed my life.”
Foster, honourary president of the Mount Doug Alumni Association, returns to Victoria this fall to judge Mount Doug Idol, a talent search for the next singing sensation at Mount Doug or one of its feeder schools.
The event is the highlight of the school’s 10-day, 80th anniversary celebration from Nov. 11-20.
The musician gives kudos to the community of educators at Mount Doug who have produced high levels of talent through the school, including Foster’s own former band teacher, the late Bob Bergeson.
“(Bergeson) realized that I had something to offer and allowed me to learn a different instrument every three months,” Foster said. “I never learned any of them extremely well, but it allowed me to gain a working knowledge of almost every instrument.”
Foster has high hopes of finding the next major local talent through the competition.
“What is it about Victoria?” he said. “Victoria has such a high percentage of overachievers that it’s just amazing.”
The first event of its kind for Mount Doug is open to all alumni of either Mount Douglas or its original feeder schools. Today, those schools are Gordon Head, Lansdowne, Cedar Hill and Arbutus middle schools (Cedar Hill is actually the site of the original Mount Doug high school, which moved in 1970).
Interested applicants must be born before 2002, and have until Oct. 14 to submit a CD (videos won’t be accepted) of their singing. There will be a Nov. 1 performance of shortlisted applicants.
Foster will sit on a panel of judges when five finalists perform Nov. 19 at the University of Victoria’s Farquhar Auditorium. Prizes will be given to the top three performers. Submission and ticket details will be posted at www.mountdougalumni.com, where a full schedule of 80th anniversary events is already posted.
Celebrations begin with a sunrise remembrance ceremony on Nov. 11 and Glorious Noise, a band reunion concert later that evening.
The anniversary also includes class reunions, sporting events, a visual art show and wine tasting, as well as a showcase of performing arts grads at Alix Goolden Performance Hall.
“It’s bringing a lot of attention to the school and its alumni and not only what they’re doing in virtually all corners of the world in arts, business and education,” said Kevin Sing, president of the Mount Doug Alumni Association and co-chair of the Mount Doug 80 Celebration committee. “But what’s more interesting to me, is the number of people out there making contributions in our own communities.”
“I think that people are in for a hell of a time,” Foster added.