On Sunday the 25th of September 60 young people showcased their talents at the much anticipated Cavell Leitch Y Factor youth talent quest.
The event was held in the newly refurbished YMCA building last known for SPECTRUM, and before that known for the best indoor wall climbing in the city. Now a venue for the arts, Papa Hou, meaning Treasure Box, is set to be the most flexible and affordable professional performance space in the CBD.
Cavell Leitch Y Factor saw singer-songwriters, bands, Shakespearean thespians, contemporary dance and hip hop. The talent just kept on coming over 20 live acts, which had been pre-selected from over 50 auditions.
Annah Mac, guest judge and singer song writer, also performed for the audience of over 200 supporters.
This talent quest boasts as its point of difference that it is open only to young people aged 11-22, and hands out prize money of $6,000. Winner ‘Shutter’ dance crew from Zion, took out the $3,000 prize, with $1,000 cheques going to Shakani for his classical piano playing, Caleb Jacobs Lawson for his singing/songwriting/guitar playing/rap mash up, and another Zion dance group ‘Mega.’
Guest judge Anton Carter (CEO of Dance Aotearoa NZ) described Shakani as a ‘genius.’ His incredibly proficient piano playing was all the more awesome because he is a self-taught boy from Linwood. He has never had a piano lesson in his life and confesses he cannot read music.
Caleb (aka Caesar) has clearly a natural talent with both music and words. Annah Mac openly congratulated him on his ability to write, sing, rap and play the guitar and all to such a high standard. Little did she know that in 2015 Caesar took out the top $3,000 prize. He told the YMCA that last year he brought a car with his prize money.
The Zion dance crews took the night however, with some amazing performances which clearly demonstrated the commitment the dancers have to their crews. Teamwork, skill, energy and passion was written all over it. Younger hip hop crews who missed out on the prize money were inspired by them to continue to strive for their high standards of performance.
A crowd favourite – a dance group of three boys aged 13 years old and calling themselves ‘The Thrift Shop’ – travelled all the way from Palmerston North to compete. Cam, their 18 year old choreographer said “This was a great event. So positive and so welcoming. We feel like we won just being here.”
The event is supported by sponsorship and the YMCA is very grateful to Cavell Leitch, ASB, Spark Business and Southern Cross Healthcare for their support, as well as Pub Charity and the Christchurch City Council. The event is planned and overseen by Y staff and volunteers who share a passion for seeing young people shine.