Two of Victoria’s best-known musical talents return to their hometown this weekend to judge the city’s latest singing competition with the chance of welcoming its next superstar.
Producer David Foster and artist Nelly Furtado, both alumni of Mount Douglas secondary school, are back as celebrity judges for Mount Doug Idol. The talent show is the culmination of nine days of events hosted by the Mount Doug Alumni Association in honour of the school’s 80th anniversary. More than 100 alumni – many living in other areas of Canada or the U.S. – applied in September to take part in the competition. A panel of local judges narrowed the field to 15 semi-finalists and then down to five finalists on Nov. 2 At the Spectrum Community school theatre.
Justin Hewitt and Kale Penny of Victoria, Joni Anderson of White Rock, Amanda Wood of Vancouver and Cristine Seeber of California are now vying for the top spot.
“We’re all so proud of coming from Mount Doug,” said Foster in an interview with the *News in September. “It’s a pact, it’s a bond that we share. I’m super proud to be a Canadian and to be from Victoria. I tout Victoria everywhere I go.”
On Nov. 19 alumni ranging in age and musical genre from teen to senior, opera to country will perform at the University of Victoria’s Farquhar Auditorium. Furtado and Foster, honorary president of the alumni association, will take the stage as well as participate in a pre-event social.
While there is no promise that the winner will get a record deal from the multi-Grammy award-winning producer, Wendy Gedney, co-chair of the anniversary celebrations, said the top vocalist will be rewarded with a trip from Air Canada and prizes from Tom Lee Music.
“The purpose of the idol is to showcase talent of the alumni and the bonus is we have David Foster and Nelly Furtado to help us with that because they’re both from Mount Doug and they’ll be playing a little bit and doing their little bit,” Gedney said. “It’s not the David and Nelly show. It’s about Mount Doug. (Foster) wants it that way and so do we.”
The competition was open to past and present staff and students of Mount Doug and its feeder schools. The children and grandchildren of former staff and students could also apply.
“There’s a huge chance that we could find something great,” Foster said.
A sports social, highlighting Mount Doug’s athletics history, will run from 3-6 p.m. at the adjacent Mount Doug campus, 3970 Gordon Head Rd. This event includes a no-host bar and is open to members of the public over the age of 19.
Tickets to the Idol show (across a variety of price ranges), the pre-event reception with Foster and Furtado, as well as the sports social can be purchased through www.mountdougalumni.com.