Fifteen young performers from the Sylvan Lake area showed off their jazz skills for a coveted opening spot for Laila Biali.
Project Discovery brought together various talents and ages to compete for a spot to open for the jazz musician during Jazz at the Lake on Aug. 18.
From vocalists to pianists, instrumentalist and even a dixieland jazz band, the concert covered all the basis.
Three judges picked the top four performers, who will go on to open at the Aug. 18 concert.
Originally the judges had planned to pick the top three, but the talent was so varied they chose to extend the winners.
Taking top place form the night was Wild Rose Dixie, a four piece jazz band made up of students from Lindsey Thurber in Red Deer.
“They are a bunch of talented kids,” Eric Allison said of the band. He said he was particularly impressed with them as they had only been playing together as a band for a couple of months.
The top place going to a jazz band made the judges think about extending the winners list, to open it up a little more.
Allison was also very impressed with the second place winner. Pianist Owen Dyke took second place with his rendition of “Breezy”.
“He improvised a lot of his piece while he was up there, it was a great thing to see,” Allison said.
The third place winner, Andrew Warnick, will not be performing during the Aug. 18 concert due to a prior commitment.
Fourth place was pianist and vocalist Kate Lynn. Like Warnick, she performed the standard “Fly Me to the Moon”. Though the same song, each performer gave their own take and added a little something extra to the piece.
Stefanie Warnick played the piano and sang “Dream a Little Dream” during the contest and placed second. Like her brother, she will also be unable to perform during the Aug. 18 concert during Jazz at the Lake.
Rounding out the performance spots was Jadyn Habinski who sang “Lullaby of Birdland”.
“I think we will have a great concert [on Aug. 18],” said Allison. “Biali is a pianist, a vocalist and a composer, so I think the performers who will open for her will compliment her show greatly.”
This isn’t the first time Jazz at the Lake has done Project Discovery, though it has been a while since the last one was held.
This time, Jazz at the Lake partnered with Sylvan Lake’s House of Music to put the showcase together.
The partnership helps bring a younger audience to jazz, according to Allison.
“We have really been struggling every year to get kids involved with Jazz at the Lake. This I think helps create excitement and interest,” said Allison.
Participants at the night are encouraged to take part in a workshop being held in October, this is where feedback on their performance will be given.
As well, Laila Biali and Cheryl Fisher will be holding a jazz workshop during the festival in August, that all performers are encouraged to attend.
Allison says credit for the night goes to Megan Epp and the House of Music. Their hard work and already-in place infrastructure were key to the contest and concert being as well received as it was.
Jazz at the Lake will be held in Sylvan Lake Aug. 17-19.