Hearts of the Valley Talent Search: Final Round Musicians Compete for the Grand Prize… April 10th at the Majestic

Wild Rose Studios’ Gabriel Surley

This April 10th, watch and listen as six talented local musicians square off in Corvallis’ inaugural semi-annual Hearts of the Valley Talent Search at the Majestic Theatre! The winner will have an entire album recorded at Wild Rose Studios, a local professional recording studio. Gabriel Surley, chief engineer at Wild Rose Studios, developed the idea of the Talent Search following the death of a good friend and gifted performer, Zach Konowalchuk. Part of the proceeds from the Talent Search will benefit the Zach Konowalchuk Music Trust, which provides children in need with musical instruments and lessons.

“Corvallis is an awesome community, there are a lot of talented musicians and great people and businesses—lots of talent,” said Clay Berthelsen, sound technician and videographer at Wild Rose Studio. “We’re trying to help the community in any way we can, and this is a great way to do it.”

Each musician in the competition has already proved her or himself at Fireworks Restaurant’s open mic nights, held every Monday—each week’s winners went on to perform in the bimonthly Acoustic Showdown. If you miss an open mic night, you can listen online at www.southtownlive.com thanks to the efforts of Ocean Liff-Anderson, owner and operator of Fireworks Restaurant.

“Because of the way we run open mic, it’s very supportive,” said Liff-Anderson, “nobody gets heckled. You can try new things; there are people with all ranges of skill.”

Still, he recognizes that for fledgling musicians, taking the first step into live performances can be intimidating. “The issue of stage fright is always there, even for performers who’ve been doing this for years,” Liff-Anderson said. “But there are many ways to overcome it—my suggestion is breathing deeply, just before you get on the mic, and you’ll find that the fear lessens and your voice sounds relaxed.”

Contestants in the inaugural event include Laura Ivancie, Shilpi Halemane, Gina Machovina, Karl Smiley, Santino Cadiz, and Adam Larson of Mahogany Driftwood. Three local celebrity judges will decide who takes home the grand prize.

“This is awesome, because we’re all broke,” laughed Halemane and Larson.

“Anyone who’s ever had passion for music, just chase it—you never know,” added Larson. “I’ve been playing guitar and writing songs for two and a half years now, and I never thought I could do it. But open mic was a warm and welcoming crowd, so you never know what the possibilities are.”

“Open mic is definitely a good fostering environment,” agreed Halemane.

At the April 10th event, enjoy delicious food from Fireworks Restaurant, tasty beer from Oregon Trail Brewery, and unique ciders from 2 Towns Ciderhouse. Win prizes from Gracewinds Music, and hang out with The Corvallis Advocate and local radio station KBVR.

“Having grown up here, live music was something I felt was lacking from my childhood,” said Aaron Sarnoff-Wood, one of the founders of 2 Towns Ciderhouse, “so it’s pretty great being able to use the resources of 2 Towns to support something like this.”

The Hearts of the Valley Talent Search debuts April 10th from 7 – 10 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre. Tickets are $7 day of show or $5 in advance, and can be purchased from the Majestic, Gracewinds Music, and Happy Trails Records. For more information, visit www.wildrosestudios.com, or check out the event’s Facebook page.

by Genevieve Weber