Fourteen-year-old Walnut Grove rapper Sheldon (a.k.a. AlphaSpittz) Wirtz hopes to use the $2,500 cash prize - when he wins first place in the Langley Has Talent (LHT) competition - to record his first album.
Nine-year-old Dante Arias of Aldergrove, on the other hand, hopes to use the money from placing in any of the top three spots in the annual talent competition to help fund a trip to Poland this December to dance in an international competition.
"This is pretty exciting," said the Grade 4 Shortreed Elementary student who's been studying at Studio One Dance Centre for the past two years.
"If I do make it to the [LHT] finals. it would be really good because I'm trying out for the worlds" and that trip will cost him a whopping $8,000.
Arias is one of about 90 who auditioned for the third annual LHT competition, and is now one of only 26 who has been shortlisted for the semi-finals happening this weekend.
Among his contenders is AlphaSpittz, a Grade 8 Walnut Grove Secondary student who developed an affinity for music when he was seven and heard the Beastie Boys perform hip hop. He then fell in love with the musical stylings of rapping legend Eminen a short time later, and hasn't stopped performing since.
While he's dabbled in drumming, and even enjoys acting, AlphaSpittz insists his true calling is to be a rapper.
"I love performing in front of people, and I thought this was the leap I needed to make from talent shows at school to the big stage," he said, explaining his decision to audition for LHT.
"This is almost a dream come true for me," he said, admitting to being a little nervous but more excited heading into the LHT semi-finals being held Saturday night.
"I wish the others good luck, but game on," he said, noting he's practising at least five times a day and taking to heart all the suggestions and advice given by LHT judges during a recent feedback session.
"Music is my goal in life. One day, I hope to make an album," and prize money from this competition would definitely help fuel that effort.
Likewise, Dante said the advice he received was invaluable for this competition and beyond. He too wants to make his career on stage - but as a dancer.
There is a mix of talents being displayed in this year's competition, explained organizer Peter Luongo. He pointed to singers, dancers, and bands, noting the first year's winner was a singer and last year's was a dancer.
Judging at this weekend's semi-finals is being done by music critic Tom Harris, local talent agent Joilenne Moore, and recording artist Tiffany Desrosiers, a Langley artist and the first ever winner of Langley Has Talent in 2011.
"I'm really ooking for-ward to this opportunity," she told the Langley Advance.
"Coming from the other angle, as a judge now, I understand the performers' positions. It takes a lot to put yourself out there on the line and as a performer you hope that people appreciate what you're trying to share with them," Desrosiers said.
"I think singing on stage would definitely feel more natural than judging," said the 26-year-old Murrayville singer and songwriter who is preparing to release a new song and music video in the next few months and simultaneously will be performing in B.C. and Carolina in the weeks and months to come.
In fact, she has a show at Langley Music School, with Vivace, on May 25.
As for her duties as a judge, she's hoping to give feedback in a way that her teachers and mentors have done for her in past: "with the intent to help but also lift up the performers."
As a result of winning the inaugural Langley Has Talent competition, Desrosiers was able to record original material at Blue Frog Studios in White Rock. She was also able to fund a music video for her song Rise Above, and appeared on Urban Rush as a solo artist.
"I do think that being able to create the Rise Above music video was one of my favourite things so far that I've experienced with singing. The support to make these things happen was so helpful," she said.
Now, she's excited to be part of this year's LHT program, and be there to help other aspiring Langley performers reach for their dreams.
The semi-finals are once again being held at the Christian Life Assembly church on Saturday, April 20, from 7 to 9: 30 p.m.
Tickets are $20 and available online at www.langleyhastalent.ca, from the arts council gallery on Fraser Highway, or at the door.
The finals are Saturday, May 4, same location and time, and same cost.
@ Copyright 2013