The Isabel Bader Centre supports aspiring local musicians

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Kingston is already a regular artistic hub, but this month, thanks to the YGK Emerging Musician Competition, aspiring musicians might be the ones getting all the attention.

On Sept. 20, six winners will take the stage in The Isabel Bader Centre’s performance hall at 7:00 p.m. to showcase their talent. The performers were selected by a jury of seasoned Kingston musicians after applications opened in May for artists to submit their original music to the competition online.

The jury panel of seven industry leaders from the Kingston community evaluated a total of 43 applications to choose the final six.

Each artist was scored out of 100 based on musicality, quality of voice and music, and technical expertise.

Jury members included John Burge, Dan School of Drama professor and Juno Award winner, Moira Demorest, piano instructor and special events manager, Jonas Lewis Anthony and Emily Fennell, musicians, Cyndy Gibson, radio host, Ange Stever, morning show host and Zane Whitfield, recording studio owner.

The judges announced the winners in early July, and from there, the artists went to work recording and shooting in the studio.

Abby Stewart, Alex Mundy, Julia Finnegan, Michelle Kasaboski, Sadaf Amini, and Savannah and Michaell were the lucky ones chosen to win the cash prize and to record an original song.

Ranging in genres from country, folk, pop, and jazz, to blues, Iranian classical, and Santur—a Mesopotamian genre of music played using a wooden instrument with strings that are strummed with wooden mallets—the performers promise to give a versatile night of entertainment.  

The finalists received a career-launching package, a free recording session at the Isabel Bader Centre, professional photos and videos, a press kit, and a one-year Venture Club membership, as well as the chance to participate in the showcase concert.

Valued at $7,500 per prize, Tricia Baldwin, Isabel Bader Centre director, says a lot of time and work was put into this “passion project.”

The Isabel has run a national competition before, though nothing they’ve done before has been reached a scale like this.

Though the planning team credits the event’s success to an overwhelming amount of support from donors, the event was more successful than they could have hoped.

“People volunteered a lot of hours just to make this happen,” Baldwin told The Journal. “When something has goodwill, it happens.”

The passion behind this initiative is evident, with Baldwin describing the immense work they put in as being a labour of love. 

“It’s a very beautiful thing to be a part of.”

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