/Music opportunity for youth with blues contest
Canoe FM announcer Patrick Monaghan is a testament to radio, having aired his 300th Buckslide Blues Cruise Show. The weekly show, which runs every Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., has been a driving force for him since being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. /DARREN LUM Staff

Music opportunity for youth with blues contest

By Darren Lum

The Highlands Buckslide Blues Society is offering an opportunity for the next B.B. King or Janis Joplin to be discovered with an upcoming music contest.

Open to Highlands’ youth 12 to 18-years-old, the Road to Kitchener Bluesfest Youth Camp Contest includes a prize package for two winners. The package includes an all-expense paid trip to the 2022 Grand River Blues Youth Camp in Kitchener; participation on a song track for an upcoming B&B Blues Band CD; a guest appearance on the Buckslide Blues Cruise show on Canoe FM, and other performance opportunities.

Patrick Monaghan, the founder of the registered not-for-profit corporation, the Highlands Buckslide Blues Society, said the idea for this contest came from how he wanted to emulate what other blues clubs do to send bands to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.

The contest, which will be announced at an upcoming concert headlined by the B&B Blues Band on April 28 at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion in Haliburton, is about giving an opportunity for young music lovers to take their skills to the next level, he said.

“It’ll certainly give them a big boost in confidence. It’ll get their name out there. If they go far enough up the [professional music] ladder, they’ll know whether they really want to do it or not. That’s for sure,” Monaghan said. “They’ll get to meet people in the business, which I can tell you it’s a made a huge difference in my life.”

Monaghan said the success of his radio show, the Buckslide Blues Cruise Show,  correlates with the connections he has made, and how he has developed numerous relationships with professionals in the music industry. He was the recipient of the National Campus and Community Radio Association Award: Best Jazz or Blues Radio Show demonstrating his passion for the blues. He jokes how he can’t carry a tune in bucket, but his engagement and ability to network has enabled him to be included in the industry he loves.

The youth camp contest rules state contestants must submit a video of less than five-minutes of an original or covered blues song performance for pre-judging to qualify for an invite to the May 25 opportunity to perform for a panel of five judges. Applicants, who will be judged on originality, stage presence, and musicality, can upload an audition tape to YouTube. Original music is encouraged, but covers are accepted, except there should be an attempt to make the rendition your own.

Send the YouTube audition link and application to highlandsbbs@gmail.com by May 18. If you’re unable to download the video, make sure to send the application to be considered. Parental release is required for finalist entry to qualify for prizes and permission for any media coverage.

Monaghan said another thing the winners of the contest will gain is perspective.

“Aim them in the right direction of something they already love and [we’re] trying to nurture that and give them some little networking [edge], meet a few people in the business,” Monaghan said. “When they go to this camp there’s 50 kids. So, they’re surrounded by 50 people. They all have talent. So, it’s like a good eye-opener for them.”

The music camp in Kitchener has proven to enhance and encourage skill development. 

Another Society effort

The Highlands Buckslide Blues Society will be launching The Music Revival Project, an opportunity to help long-term care patients affected by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with music. The project includes the provision of wireless noise cancellation headphones and a music player, which will be loaded with music compiled by families, long-term care staff and Society members.

Other support for the Society’s efforts has come from the Rotary Club of Haliburton, Canoe FM radio station and Mulligans Bar and Patio.

For more information about the Society see www.highlandsbuckslidebluesociety.com or contact president Patrick Monaghan at 705-306-0181 or marketing Rusty Rustenberg at 705-464-1719.