Whistler talent steps into the spotlight 

Dave Morris, Crystal Lounge team up to host new weekly talent night

Are you a closet shower singer with talent? Well, here's your chance to be heard.

Between his own musical endeavours and juggling other fun Whistler activities, longtime local musician Dave Morris has managed to help coordinate a weekly talent showcase, dubbed Whistler's Got Talent, that's slated to take place at the Crystal Lounge starting on Thursday, Oct. 1 and running each Thursday until Oct. 22.

After living in the area for almost 15 years, Morris has landed some pretty solid regular gigs around town, and also plays as one part of the Spy Vs. Spy duo.

"I was actually a snowmobile guide," he said with a laugh. "I turned into being an entertainer from being an entertainer, really."

"We're pretty lucky here that it is an entertainment town," he said. "We're lucky that the pubs and venues support that kind of thing and support local music, too."

A few places, in particular, really seem to understand the value of live, local music and what it can add to a guest's experience of Whistler as a whole.

"In fact, I've heard managers say, 'added value,'" Morris said.

Morris was inspired to hold Whistler's Got Talent by a similar event held years ago, hosted by a legendary local, Randy, from the now-closed music store, Bestsellers.

"It was just called The Music Search - I actually kind of wanted to call it The Music Search, but Jono (at the Crystal) wanted to call it the Whistler's Got Talent music search," Morris chuckled. "I kind of thought it was a bit cheesy because it's a play on the TV show."

Cheesy or not, the competition will see local musicians go head-to-head during three preliminary rounds held on consecutive Thursdays, vying for a spot in the finals on Thursday, Oct. 22.

The Crystal brings in a rotating roster of local and visiting musicians to entertain their patrons, and Morris said the environment is ideal for a competition like this.

"Let's admit it: that little stage in there is perfect for what we do and what this is. It's just a really comfortable place for people to go and just do their thing."

Last year another local musician, Drew Wilson, coordinated The King and Queen of Song Competition, which saw artists going head-to-head with all original material. This time around, Wilson wanted to open things up a bit and allow a wider range of musicians to participate. Original and cover material is welcome and the competition is open to all styles and levels of ability.

They just began advertising the event late last week, and by Friday, had had a number of applications from bands that were interested in taking part.

"It was just an anything-goes thing, and I kind of like that format because you can get the crowd going with whatever you can - covers and originals - and it's just fun," Morris said.

"...I'm sure we can expect solo entertainers and bands. I've already talked to a guy that's using his laptop to run backing tracks and stuff like that, so it should be interesting!"

Winners of each of the qualifying rounds and the finals will be selected by a rotating panels of judges, who will base their decisions on crowd response, technical ability, presentation and originality.

"I kind of wish I was going in it!" Morris laughed. "...It lights a fire under your ass, these contests, because it gives you a good reason to put your stuff together."

And aside from the honour and prestige that will come with winning the competition, there are some great prizes, too.

"Jono (at the Crystal) has graciously offered some gigs, so the prizes are... actually Wednesday and a weekend gig," Morris said. "...The grand, grand prize is a Takamine guitar."

Stop by the Crystal to fill out an entry form. It's free to compete, and even if you're not in the running, come check out Whistler's hidden talents during the first four Thursdays of October.



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