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In search of talent

Nanoose Bay’s Vince Ditrich on Variety’s panel of judges
Vince Ditrich


he search is on for the province’s next singing sensation. Variety’s Got Talent is back for a second year and the winner will get to appear on the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon which airs live on Global BC February 11 and 12.

B.C. residents between the ages of 13 to 29 are invited to submit an audition video at until January 15, 2012. Audition videos should be two to three minutes long and the performer must be singing a cappella or with an acoustic guitar. Music industry professionals will narrow down the entries to 10 finalists from across the province to perform in the finals on February 3, at the River Rock Show Theatre.

An exciting new addition this year is the People’s Choice competition. The public will be able to view the top 20 auditions on YouTube between January 23 to 27 and vote for their favourite.

The competitor with the most votes will win a spot in the finals.


The top 10 finalists and the People’s Choice winner will be brought to Vancouver to perform before a live audience and the winner will be selected by a panel of celebrity and industry judges which includes Spirit of the West’s Vince Ditrich. The Nanoose Bay musician who has produced many talented artists admitted it has been a while since he has been asked to judge a competition and he intends to be completely honest with the contestants without being mean.

Ditrich said he will act as a mentor especially for the young performers.

“It takes a lot of guts to get up on a stage and pour out your heart and soul.  I am not going to give out a free pass but hopefully they will have some sense of quality.”

He said quite often talented people get overlooked if they are not shiny and glamorous and it is a skill to look beyond that and see their potential.

“As a record producer it is my job to find nuggets among the muck.”

When he’s not in the studio producing Canadian talent, Ditrich spends his time mentoring his 14-year-old son Sammy who plays guitar and sings in his own band. The young boys call themselves Nth Degree and Ditrich said for a group of kids they are pretty good.

“When they started three years ago none of them could really play ... but now they are getting quite good,” he stated.

The other young talented musicians in the group include 13-year-old Austin Smith on drums, 11-year-old Joel Smith on keyboards, and 13-year-old Mattias Zetterberg on drums and percussion.

Ditrich said they have a short but excellent set which includes a mix of covers and original songs.

“They have written some good songs.  To have these minds to seed is great ... especially when they pull it off at a show.”

He said mentoring them is a labour of love and hopefully their passion for music will serve them well in the future.

“It would be cool if they took it to the next level,” he admitted.

Austin who plays drums in the band said he has learned a lot from Ditrich and he and Sammy both admitted is it cool having the drummer from Spirit of the West as their mentor.  Ditrich said Austin has a brilliant ear and he has been enjoying passing on his knowledge to all of the boys.

When he heads to Vancouver to judge the talent show next month he will be joined by music manager Bruce Allen, Global BC’s Steve Darling, and Tamara Stanners a radio DJ from 100.5 The Peak.

Whoever the judges choose will receive a Tom Lee Rising Star Package and appear on the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon which airs live on Global BC February 11 and 12, 2012.

Variety is a non-profit organization that distributes grants throughout B.C. to inspire hope, enrich lives and build a better future for children who have special needs.


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