At 11 years of age, Kiera Ventner of Abbotsford still qualified for the junior category but her talent took her past everyone in the senior category to claim first overall in the third-annual Valley Voices competition at the 2011 Abbotsford Agrifair.
Despite her young age, Ventner is already a seasoned performer.
She has been singing since the age of five, plays piano and saxophone and has recently started composing her own music. She placed second in last year’s competition.
As the overall winner, Ventner received a $1,500 cheque from Agrifair, a vocal styling workshop and vocal lessons from Darcy D, a music business consulting session with Nuu Music Artist Management, a photo shoot with Revival Arts Studio, three studio demo tracks and a gift certificate from Long & McQuade.
Placing first in the senior (13-18 year old) category was 14-year-old Payton Rector of Surrey while second in the category went to 17-year-old Tasha Leginus of Mission.
Named the People’s Choice Winner in a new online voting contest was 15-year-old Gloria Ellis of Abbotsford.
Ellis received a package of gift certificates from local merchants worth more than $1,000.
All 15 finalists in the competition also received gift certificates from Long & McQuade.
Judging the competition this year was Vancouver country singer A.J. Woodworth, BC Country Music Hall of Fame member Ron Irving and his wife Sue, David Wills, co-founder of Stonebolt, and Geoff Wheele of Long & McQuade.
The judges made the competition a learning experience for each of the participants with helpful tips.
“We concentrated our prizes this year so our winner would get a real boost along her career path,” said Agrifair entertainment co-ordinator Brad Styba, a director of the Valley Voices competition.
“Even though this is just our third year, Valley Voices is already a highlight of the fair. This year we had competitors from as far away as Kelowna participate so the word is definitely getting out there. We have seen previous finalists launch successful careers and come back to the Main Stage as feature entertainers and we have high expectations for this year’s winners.”
– Submitted by David Schmidt