Danville Express

Newsfront - February 23, 2007

Seeking a Valley Teen Idol

Talented teens to vie in Rotary contest for $1,000 and a recording session

by Jordan M. Doronila

A prize of $1,000 and a chance to record music at a professional studio will go to the winner of this year's Valley Teen Idol contest. Auditions begin next month in Danville.

The San Ramon Valley Rotary Club is looking for new teen stars and will hold initial auditions for its second annual Valley Teen Idol at the Danville Grange Hall, 743 Diablo Road, from March 16 to 18.

The contest is open to performers ages 13 to 19. Teenagers are expected to sing a 60-second a cappella performance in front of judges, some of whom are involved in the music industry.

"It's a fun way for kids to express themselves and to utilize their talent," said Debora Killeen, the founder of the event. "There's so much hidden talent out there."

Judges will select a group of performers to enter the semifinals April 4 at Crow Canyon Country Club in Danville, and the final contest will be held April 14 at the Canyon View Dining Hall in San Ramon, formerly Charlie Brown's.

First prize winners receive $1,000 and a recording session. Second prize winners get $500; and third place performers get $250.

Tickets for the Teen Idol gala competition at Canyon View Dining Hall are $65, which includes dinner, the show, entertainment and a silent auction, said Killeen. All proceeds will go to Rotary activities, which include providing scholarships to students, helping out with international projects and assisting the elderly.

Last year, the event garnered 65 youthful participants from the San Ramon Valley. Killeen said she started the event as a way to raise money for Rotary functions and to get kids and the community involved with each other. The idea came from the popular show "American Idol" on Fox TV, she said.

"Most of the kids had a great experience," she said, about last year's event. "It was good practice for them."

Unlike the hit TV show, Valley Teen Idol focuses on building teen esteem and allowing teenagers to express themselves. Constructive criticism is given, as opposed to breaking them down, she said.

"It's not so good," Killeen said, about how the judges criticize teens on American Idol. "It's entertainment."

Valley Teen Idol brings a diverse mix of youths who sing rock, gospel, theater and country music.

"You would be amazed," she said. "These kids are really talented."

The auditions March 16-18 are limited to the first 200 applicants; the cost is $40. To find more or to register as a contestant, visit the Rotary Club of the San Ramon Valley's Web site at www.sanramonvalleyrotary.org or telephone Debora Killeen at 260-4565.


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