Langley singer lauded at festival gala

Fifteen-year-old singer and songwriter Cole Armour was pretty astonished when he learned he was up for accolades for what he loves to do.

The Willoughby youth, who first burst on the entertainment scene at age nine, blowing people away singing opera, was among four individuals honoured at the Langley’s International Festival multicultural gala this past weekend.

“This award was so unexpected, I was stunned!” Armour told the Langley Advance.

“I am so grateful to have received this award. Huge thank you to all my fans and family for their support with my music.”

 While Armour took home the youth award at the fourth annual dinner and awards ceremony, others honoured Saturday night included Bonnie Hartup receiving the seniors award, Peter Luongo receiving the education award, and George Miller receiving the business accolades.

The concept is to recognize those who have made a “positive contribution” to their community through leadership, volunteering, helping others, or making a difference through a community or school project in Langley, Canada, or overseas, explained Festival organizer Shar Dubas.

“This is only the second year that we’ve added the youth category,” Dubas said. “It’s proven to be very effective and needed. After all, it’s our youth who are our next leaders… Congratulations, Cole for representing Langley though your incredible singing.”

Cole Armour – youth award winner

From Cole’s nomination form, judges read:

– Fifteen-year-old Canadian recording artist and songwriter

– Cole Armour was seven years old when silenced a local audience with his singing voice for the first time

Some of his accomplishments are:

– the Merritt Mountain Music Festival

– first place in the BC Junior Talent Contest

– top soloist at the Kiwanis Fraser Valley International Music Festival

– first child to win the Red Robinson Talent Showdown

– Headliner for David Foster’s Kids Help Kids

– Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

– Canadian and American anthems for Vancouver Canucks

– Ellen DeGeneres Show

– ET Canada

– City TV

– The Rush

– CTV

– Global TV

– Humanitarian who supports anti-bullying campaigns, child welfare and animal protection and safety.

Peter Luongo – education award winner

Points from the nomination form submitted for Peter Luongo:

– teacher/principle with Langley School District 34 years

– founder and director of the Langley Ukulele Ensemble 32 years ago; which served as an ambassador for Langley from Hawaii to Halifax

– choir master at St. Mathews Roman Catholic Church

– founder of You’ve Got Talent Competition

Bonnie Hartup – seniors award winner

Her nomination read: Bonnie is a retired teacher. Brookswood Seniors Centre was in terrible shambles when Bonnie found it. The financial situation, as well as the facility, was a mess before she started; no one knew exactly where the money was coming or going, fees weren’t collected properly, banking and accounting was haphazard until she and few others insisted on everything in writing.

She went out and got donations of cash, materials and volunteer installers to upgrade the facility (which was in bad shape) from the Rotary [Clubs], Home Depot, etc.

She applied for and got grants from various places, such as government agencies that help seniors.

Most of all she is an organizer, and people enjoy working for and with her because she puts in so many hours herself.

This year was especially busy as the outdoor wheelchair ramp and new washroom and kitchen floor was installed – also sound baffles so live music would sound good. And mirrors for dancers.

After the building was up-to-grade she is concentrating on programs such as Food for Friends, dancing dogs, square dancing, line dancing, Zumba, crib, chess, crafts, and quilting groups.  

Bonnie is also a volunteer docent (instructor) at the Langley Centennial Museum, offering various school programs.  

George Miller – business award winner

-  Joined the Royal Canadian Air Force at 18

– By age 19, he was on a tour of duty in Europe, the youngest RCAF pilot flying F-86 Sabres over Germany in the Cold War.

– He earned accolades as one of Canada’s top fighter pilots, returning home in 1958 to work on the DEW line in the Arctic.

– In the 1960s, he flew with the celebrated Golden Hawks aerobatic team.

– Founding flight commander of the Snowbirds national aerobatic team.

РPromoted to colonel, Miller served as military attach̩ to Egypt.

– Base commander at the Royal Canadian Air Force base at Moose Jaw, Sask.

– He formed his own air show company Canadian-based Spar Aerospace in Brazil

– Canadian fighter pilot decided to take a stab at resurrecting Langley municipal airport.

– Miller built Langley Airport into a multi-million dollar business by making helicopters their number one priority

– He has turned the Langley-Township owned airport into a top-flight operation that generates $69 million annually for the community.

– Miller’s son Guy, also an ex-RCAF fighter pilot, has taken the reins, while George has retired.

• Young writers sought

A thousand dollars is up for grabs for an emerging young writer, and that winner could hail from Langley.

PEN Canada launched its second annual International New Voices Award earlier this month, calling for submissions from unpublished young writers.

PEN Canada is a non-partisan organization of writers that works with others to defend freedom of expression as a basic human right at home and abroad. PEN Canada promotes literature, fights censorship, helps free persecuted writers from prison, and assists writers living in exile in Canada.

They are accepting submissions until April 3. The top Canadian entry will be forwarded to the international jury.

Detailed guideliness are available at www.pencanada.ca.

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