It's Hamilton Music Awards weekend in Hamilton, Ontario and on November 18, this year's contenders for the "RISING STAR" award showed they were worthy of their nominations.
This is a big and busy weekend for bands, singer/songwriters, vocalists, producers, recording studios and all of those involved in the music industry in and around Hamilton, Ontario. The Arcelor Mittal 2011 Hamilton Music Awards take place over 4 days offering workshops, conferences, music of all kinds and for those who have been nominated, the possibility of being named best new group or artist, best vocalist, best guitarist, best producer ... simply the best in 31 music-related categories.
Last night, eleven young contenders for Hamilton's Rising Star Award took to the stage of the McIntyre Theater at Mohawk College. Most were secondary school students, with the youngest being Brandon Pacheco, 13, who is also nominated in two other categories. Brandon, who's had thousands of YouTube views, was backed by a foursome of young dancers on his second song.
But he had his work cut out for him as the judges weighed up his performance and originality against those of 17-year-old Grade 12 student and talented singer/songwriter, Sarah Botelho, who won second place with her engaging delivery of a cover song and her well-crafted original, "Mars".
The oldest of the Rising Star contenders was Alyssa Curto who is in her second year of the Bachelor of Music Program at the University of Toronto. A confident performer who has already garnered some impressive credits, Alyssa writes her own material but is also an accomplished musical arts/broadway "triple threat". Her beautiful rendition of Adele's popular song "Someone Like You" rivalled the superstar's own version.
Opening the evening was Christina LeClair, another singer/songwriter with a huge voice. Christina has already released her first single, "Everyday Crazy" and has performed at both Canada's Wonderland and the Rogers Centre. But the judges were more impresssed with Mackenzie Meyer [from Ancaster whose sensitive delivery of one of her originals won her 3rd place.
Other nominees included two young rappers, SA and Tyco, both of whom have already recorded a demo or EP and a delightful quartet of four lovely young ladies from Westmount, known as "Finesse", and it was with finesse and perfect harmony that the quartet performed two cover songs accompanied by the renowned Russ Weil of the Hamilton All Stars Jazz Band.
But in the end, despite a very strong performance by the alternate/ambient rock group,Allotrope, and rockers, Inner Volition, the Hamilton Music Awards Rising Star Award went to a rock band from Westdale Secondary, Illusion Avenue. This band had already won the Rogers Rock and Roll Challenge and have been performing at major venues around Hamilton. It was obvious from the audience response that plenty of their fans were present at the awards.
While the judges deliberated, one of the judges, the famous John Ellison who wrote the classic, "Some Kind of Wonderful" treated the audience to an impromptu performance. As the night ended, there could be no doubt that each of the nominated rising stars deserved their place on that stage.
The Hamilton Music Awards continue today with performances around the city and the music industry awards tonight. Tomorrow will see this annual event wrap up with other major awards being vied for by multi-nominated artists like former Canadian Idol, Brian Melo, singer/songwriter, Jeremy Fisher, and relative newcomers like Terra Lightfoot and the singer/songwriter duo of AndrewVictoria
With the Lifetime Achievement Award being presented to the brilliant singer/songwriter, IAN THOMAS, and performances by various nominees, the McIntyre Theatre at Mohawk College will be the place to be on the evening of November 20th.