Susie is a star

Cloverdale's 'Versatile' Susie (Francis) Hall has won the regional division of the Senior Star talent competition.

Susie Hall

Anyone acquainted with Susie (Francis) Hall already knows she’s a star. Now she has a trophy to prove it.

Hall – well known in Cloverdale for heading up The Versatiles, a local performing arts troupe of golden agers – has won the Langley regional division of Senior Star, a talent contest open to seniors aged 65 and up.

Her (somewhat bawdy) rendition of the sultry blues classic “The Birth of the Blues“ won over the panel of judges at the June 14 event, held at Langley Gardens Retirement Community.

The multifaceted performer beat out nine other contestants, including Cloverdale’s Irene Reed, a previous regional Senior Idol who sang her way to the nationals in 2010. Working the crowd, Francis won over the judges, Langley Township Coun. Grant Ward, school music instructor Jamie Thomas, and performer Gail Hawksworth, to take top prize.

Senior Star is Canada’s largest talent competition dedicated to seniors. Surrey seems to be something of a wellspring for senior talent; Dan Miner of Surrey was among the 2009 finalists.

This year there are 60 regional competitions being held across Canada. Contestants are given five minutes to sing a song, play an instrument, or do both. Videotaped performances of the winners are then submitted to a celebrity panel of judges.

From there, the list is narrowed down to nine competitors to compete in the senior Star National Finals taking place this November in Niagara Falls, Ont.

Meanwhile, Susie and The Versatiles are enjoying a steady set of engagements at area seniors’ residences and other venues. Earlier this week, The Versatiles were set to perform at Westminster House in White Rock.

This August, after they perform their variety show at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds during the Blueberry Festival, they’ll perform their biggest show yet – an anniversary show at Vancouver’s historic Kitsilano Showboat at Kits Beach.

The Aug. 11 performance is an historic occasion for The Versatiles. Hall comes from a long line of performers. Seventy-five years ago, her grandfather Frank Dowie and “The Versatiles” performed a tribute to King George IV during Canada’s Coronation season in English Bay.

Hall, who founded the re-booted version of The Versatiles in 2005, has spent her life in the theatre, and  loves the vaudeville tradition, which encompasses singing, dancing, and comedy.

She got her start in theatre at the age of seven, gracing stages with her parents, Fran Dowie and Candy Kane. In 2010, she was inducted into the Northwest Western Swing Music Society’s hall of fame.

The Senior Star competition is presented by Chartwell Seniors Housing REIT, which owns and operates a network of retirement homes and facilities.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATED: Surrey RCMP make multiple arrests after reports of fight in Newton

Huge police response to reports of fight, possibly a gun, in the area of 82nd Avenue east of Scott Road

Surrey youth protest throne speech as part of Global Day of Action

Group marched to Liberal MP Randeep Sarai’s constituency office

Father hopes journey to aviation-safety program inspires hope

Former South Surrey resident Greg Sewell hasn’t given up on quest to mandate older-plane retrofits

Panorama Ridge Secondary reports third COVID-19 exposure

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

Surrey home has ‘extensive damage’ after fire

‘Heavy smoke’ caused some visibility issues

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

VIDEO: COVID won’t dampen Lower Mainland woman’s Halloween spirit

Langley’s Tanya Reid posted video offering suggestions of how trick-or-treating might look for her

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

VIDEO: Mounties looking to catch Chilliwack bike-riding teen groper

Man caught on video slapping the backside of girl near CSS riding a bicycle

Most Read