After an exciting finale, Henry Benjamin was crowned Senior Idol 2010 at the Cascades Casino in Langley on June 3rd. Judges and audience members were captivated by his versions of “Who can I turn to?” and “Portrait of my love.”
With stiff competition, Henry managed to beat out all the other talented and entertaining performers.
Open to B.C. residents over age 55, auditions were held the week prior to the gala event. Of 40 original contestants, 10 semi-finalists took to the stage to perform their first song. Five were chosen to move on to the finals, where they sung a second selection.
“The contestants are all very nervous but are ready to start and are getting excited,” said Nicole Severin from the Renaissance and Audrey Dol from the Imperial Place, who organized the event and acted as MCs.
The theatre filled quickly with family, friends and other audience members wishing to share in the competition and support all of the Idols.
“This is such a fantastic experience for all the residents and staff of both retirement homes, where the auditions were held,” said Nicole.
Senior Idol, modelled on the very popular television program, American Idol, has run for four years and grows more popular each time.
Semi-finalists sang their first song choice to the delight of the audience, who responded with cheers and standing ovations. Judges had the difficult task of choosing the final five, before the third-, second- and first-place winners were announced, while audience members perched on the edge of their seats.
The third-place finisher, Nico Koevoets, received a weekend stay for two, along with a dinner-for-six at one of the Residences. Originally from The Hague, Netherlands, Nico performed “Core Ngrato” and “Gern Habich Die Fraun Gekuss.”
Sylvi Talkkari, who came to Canada from Finland, took second place and won $400 in travel vouchers for her rendition of “Habanera” from Carmen, followed by “Polska.”
And the winner, Henry Benjamin, received a cheque for $1000 from Allegro residences.
“I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and my father was a band leader,” said Henry. “The band used to practise at our house and I was always there, listening and learning the words to the songs. One day, the vocalist was unable to attend so they asked me to sing along.”
Henry said, he “loves singing and have sung all my life. I came to Canada in 1976 and settled here in Vancouver. Well, now my wife, Carmelita, and I are looking for retirement living, so this contest has been good for us in many ways!”
The successful evening ended with many thanks to community sponsors, judges, volunteers and contestants.
JULY 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND
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