Young student couple wins Langley Has Talent competition

Jesse LeBlanc thought he was imagining things when the name of his newly labelled music duet was called out as the winner of this year’s Langley Has Talent (LHT) Saturday night.

Dumbfounded, he looked over to his musical partner and girlfriend Kathleen Dunn to see if he was in fact imagining things.

The shocked and stunned look on her face confirmed instantly that it was not a dream.

They were actually being called up to accept the award as winners of the community’s fourth annual talent competition, which earned them the proverbial crown as well as $2,500 cash, and a session in the recording studio.

“I’m still in shock,” said Jesse, a 25-year-old nursing student who moved from Nova Scotia to Langley in 2012 to study at Trinity Western University.

“When our names were first announced, it felt like time stopped as we looked at each other in disbelief! We were happy with our performance to be sure, but weren’t expecting first place. The whole thing was so surreal,” LeBlanc elaborated.

“I can’t believe it. There were so many amazing people performing, I couldn’t believe when they said we won,” added Kathleen, a 23-year-old Ontario native who is taking religious studies at Trinity Western University.

Twenty-four hours later, reflecting back on the experience, Dunn recalled how between the interviews and congratulations from the audience and friends, they kept exchanging glances with each other “wide eyed and trying to take it all in!”

Those glances apparently continued through the night as they celebrated with friends and family at Boston Pizza.

“Now that we’ve had a night to sleep on the news, we are still in disbelief!” she added.

The young couple first performed together unexpectedly at an open mic night at the university a little more than a year ago.

It’s no coincident that they sang From This Valley, the very same song that brought them together.

Following that initial encounter at school, this pair became friends and performed together a few more times. They began officially performing as a duet about a year ago now, and officially became a couple six months later.

Just last month, days ahead of the LHT semifinals, they formalized a name for their duet: A Guy and A Girl, and they’re hoping the success at Saturday’s talent competition will help propel them forward in their musical quest.

“This just shows us that people actually want to hear what we’re doing,” Jesse said, hoping they’ll secure a few more gigs around town as well as more opportunity to share their talents in the musical ministries at their Catholic churches.

Following Dunn and LeBlanc’s performance, judges applauded their efforts to engage the audience by inviting them to sing and clap along.

“I just love you guys… I love watching you on stage,” said returning judge Jolienne Moore, who said she could see them as a cute little old couple 50 years from now still up on stage singing together.

Second place went to another musical group, a five-member band called Quinn & Tonic, while third place was awarded to 12-year-old improv dancer Paige McLachlan.

Other honours were also given out to other finalists Saturday night.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University granted two scholarships – awarded to singer Hayley Bouey and rapper Josh G.

And talent agent and judge Jolienne Moore of JL Model & Talent Management awarded a contract to Michaela Mulder.

The event, organized by the four Rotary Clubs of Langley, attracted an audience of about 600 people who watched performances by 13 different contenders Saturday night at Christian Life Assembly.

This was the fourth annual talent contest, originally designed and still held to raise awareness for the need for a performing arts centre in Langley to showcase “all the incredible talented performers” in the community, said event founder and entertainer Peter Luongo.

“I have to tell you… I was back there in tears or near tears for the wonderful performances that were given,” he told the Langley Advance.

“It’s heartwarming. The level of talent was outstanding. Every performances was worthy of being on stage at a new performing arts centre in Langley.”

• More at www.langleyadvance.com

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