SOUTH SURREY/WHITE ROCK – Diamond in the Rock, a youth talent search on the Semiahmoo Peninsula, is starting up again to highlight the next generation of amazing musicians from this area. The showcase returns on Wednesday, March 5, at the Roadhouse Grille in South Surrey, located at 1781 King George Blvd.
"It blows you away, the calibre of the musicians who come out," said Dennis Peterson, who has hosted the talent search over the last few years. "There’s some fantastic talent in this area."
Peterson, who also hosts open-mic nights at the Good Day Sunshine CafÃ©, is gearing up for the 2014 edition of the competition, which started about four years ago.
"A few of the local business people got together and thought it was a great idea and got it rolling," he said.
Some local household names have their roots in the Diamond in the Rock contest: Previous winners include alt-rock group Tommy Alto, solo acoustic guitarist Mike Fabro and twin sister folk-country duo Alanna & Brianna.
Peterson said it’s inspiring to see kids and teens sing their hearts out and perform in the contest, noting that about 30 or 40 acts participate yearly, ranging from solo a cappella artists to trios with instruments.
"It’s good experience for them, learning how to work with a microphone and handle themselves onstage," he said. "It gives them
Sisters Alanna (left) and Brianne Finn-Morris won the 2013 Diamond in the Rock youth talent contest last June at Blue Frog Studios in White Rock. (File photo) a chance to get out there and spread their wings."
Over the course of eight weeks, a rotating panel of judges picks one winner from each week to perform at the final concert. Peterson said judging the competition can be difficult, as the judges hear a wide variety of musical genres, as well as new and old tunes.
"We hear a lot of Adele," he said with a laugh, "but we had one fellow last year that kind of did a Woody Guthrie, old Bob Dylan-style of fingerpicking on acoustic guitar.
"We’ve got electric blues, rock ‘n’ roll, all kinds of stuff."
The contest runs from March 5 to April 23 at the Roadhouse Grille, and the final show is set for May 4 at 2 p.m. at Blue Frog Studios, 1328 Johnston Rd. For more information, visit facebook.com/DITR2014.