Local resident takes Idol title 0
This past Saturday in a room so crowded that any legion - or amphitheatre - in Canada would be proud to claim was its, the community gathered to see one of the best shows the Pass has to offer: the finale of the second annual Crowsnest Pass Idol (CPI).
And as the lights went out and the clock struck 8:10 p.m., one by one the stage was seized by a performer hoping to claim victory of the crowd and judging panel alike in a quest to become this year's Idol.
Eight final contenders took to the stage, each delivering three songs they hoped would show the judges their growth as performers and singers from the beginning of the event up to this night.
For nearly four hours the crowd was entertained, watching the battle - albeit friendly and from the heart amongst the singers - wondering how the judges would make a choice. By the time final songs came around, it was a matter of one standing ovation after the other.
But, as midnight came around it was time a new idol was announced and to the cheers from contestants and crowd, Jeff Chambers took the cake (or in this case, the title and a $2,000 cheque).
"We were looking for someone to blow us straight out of our seats. and he just did it," said judge Michele Dobek-Koinberg afterwards. "It was his originality, his beautiful range, his amazing guitar playing and how very emotional he could be in his songs. And he is a natural on the stage."
Chambers was visibly shocked and elated at the announcement.
"I can't believe it," he said. "But it's awesome."
Chambers said he appreciated the comments from judges as they all urged him to move ahead on a path of performing and song writing, something he said he wasn't able to do in the past but is now hoping to pursue.
"I actually do have some recording time booked in Calgary soon, so hopefully I will be able to do that and get out there and sell some CDs," he said.
Chambers has been songwriting since he was 14 and playing scales on various instruments since he was five-years-old.
"I'll play any instrument I can get my hands on, I have no choice. It's a calling to me," Chambers commented earlier in the contest. Chambers' award was presented to him by Lyle Douglas from Teck.
"The talent tonight was amazing," said Douglas. "I'm so glad we could be part of this. Teck is a community-aware company and we want to sponsor events like this that support so many members of our community."
Second place went to first-time contestant Carly Perkin. Perkin received $1,000 from the Blairmore Lion's Club.
Perkin delivered a heartfelt hanks to the crowd during her performance, including her family that drove eight-hours from Saskatoon each weekend of the event to support her.
"For someone that isn't from here, I have to thank everyone for their support," she said. "The amount of people that have come up to me has been amazing. You [the community] have a lot of warm hearts, and it feels like home."
Third spot was taken by Shannon Riviere, receiving $500 from Devon Canada, followed by Kyle Rains receiving $300 from Fernie Ford, and rounding up the top five was Jon Burgman, receiving $200 from Fernie
Ford. The remaining three contestants each received a gift certificate from the Rum Runner.
Adam Harrison represented Devon Canada at the finale, and said they too were happy to have been part of this event.
"We live where we work, and as a company we believe we have to support our communities," said Harrison. "Our business survives because as a community you allow us in, and events like these are important to the health of our communities - that's why we want to support it."