PENINSULA SPOTLIGHT: Springfest Talent Show lets local performers share gifts

PORT ANGELES — The first-ever Juan de Fuca Festival Springfest Talent Show is a Saturday night celebration to warm people up for another celebration four weeks from now.

Such was the idea Dan Maguire, executive director of the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts, had months ago.

And now that idea is coming to fruition, with 16 local acts poised to take the stage at the Port Angeles High School auditorium, 304 E. Park Ave., at 7 p.m. Saturday.

And these acts “are just all over the map,” said Maguire. “I think it will be a really fun evening,” showcasing the mix of original music and other art available across the North Olympic Peninsula.

There’s singer and pianist Zoe Tucker, an 11-year-old from Port Angeles who will perform an original song, and Elise Beuke, a Sequim 13-year-old who will also accompany herself on piano as she offers her own composition.

There are grownups: jazz chanteuse Kate Lily of Sequim; fiddle-piano-washtub-bass duo Wayne Shields and Barbara Priebe; the Tull City Trio, a Port Angeles rock ’n’ roll band, and Dave Toman of Sequim, who will perform on homemade flutes.

A singer-guitarist who goes by the name of Thom Catts will add yet another original song to the menu, while 16-year-old Elizabeth Helwick will dance her original choreography. Dave and Rosalie Secord will wield their guitar and mandolin, and the whole Helwick family will knit their violin, vocals, guitar and cello.

These plus six other acts will compete for the show’s grand prize: a spot on the main stage during the Juan de Fuca Festival, which runs from May 27 through May 30 at the Vern Burton Community Center and nearby venues in downtown Port Angeles.

The winner will also receive a $100 honorarium, but it’s that time in the spotlight that has the performing artists keyed up, Maguire believes.

Juan de Fuca is Port Angeles’ Memorial Day weekend extravaganza of music, dance and visual arts; the four-day festival is known for drawing top-shelf acts and up-and-coming bands of myriad styles.

This year’s headliners include Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, Delhi 2 Dublin and the Paperboys.

Like the festival, the Springfest Talent Show reflects how “music comes in all shapes and sizes and forms,” said Maguire. On Saturday night, “people will be really impressed and entertained.”

If this event is a success, Maguire added, it will become an annual showcase.

“There are a lot of good people who aren’t getting into the [Juan de Fuca] festival,” added Carol Pope, the event’s education coordinator. The talent show will give them a forum and demonstrate that “the arts are alive and well here on all sorts of levels.”

Each act will have five minutes on stage, so with its 15-minute intermission the show will run about two hours, Pope estimated.

And the lineup is something like the local weather: “It’s a wide variety. If you wait five minutes, you’ll hear something else.”

While the talent show’s master and mistress of ceremonies are theater director and actor Richard Stephens and singer-actress Amanda Bacon, the judges include Karen Hanan, director of Arts Northwest and founder of the Juan de Fuca Festival; Peninsula College Activities Director Rick Ross; Port Angeles Fine Arts Center director Jake Seniuk; Sequim Lavender Farmers Association executive director Scott Nagel and Jeffrey Bruton, president of GMB Technical.

In addition to the grand prize, trophies will be awarded for the outstanding solo, youth and group performances.

Admission to the show is $10 for adults, $7 for children 12 and younger or $30 for families of up to five people.

For more details about the Springfest Talent Show and the Juan de Fuca Festival, visit or phone 360-457-5411. The complete lineup of more than 40 festival acts is now on the website, and through Saturday only, full-festival tickets are on sale at an early-bird discount for $40 per person. On Sunday, the price rises to $50 for a four-day pass.

In encouraging people to come to the talent show, Pope hailed the local performers, many of whom pursue their passions regardless of the money they may or may not earn.

“When someone devotes the time and energy to an artistic pursuit,” she said, “let’s support them.”

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Matthew Nash/ Olympic Peninsula News Group

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