The good, the bad, the talented |

The good, the bad, the talented

Cassie Pence
Vail Daily/Illustration by Dawn Beacon

When mountain folk talk of living in seclusion, most of the time it’s a good thing. When referring to competition, however, the High Country can get pretty lonely.

This was the logic behind Vail Valley Starquest, a regional talent competition happening in May for youths. It’s the brainchild of Vail Valley Performing Arts Academy’s Artistic Director Colin Meiring and Executive Producer Annah Scully.

Meiring and Scully have been driving kids, mostly from the Vail Valley Dance Academy, down to Denver to compete in statewide dance competitions, and they saw the potential to create something similar at the Vilar Center during the offseason.

“Going down to do a competition is the only way our kids can measure themselves against everyone else in the state,” Meiring said. “We’re just so secluded up here. So, I thought, why not bring competition to Vail? It’s already a tourist destination, why not bring people here to compete?”

“What happens at these competitions is the kids get a reality check as to where they really stand in the big world,” Scully added.

Starquest invites singers, dancers, actors, musicians, comedians and specialty acts, ages 8-18, from all mountain regions, including Summit, Aspen and Glenwood, to perform.

The contest is divided into three age divisions with winners from each division receiving $500, and all finalists win cash prizes. Registration deadline is Thursday. The first night of Starquest, May 6, takes place at Battle Mountain High School. Contestants who make it to the finals perform at the Vilar Center for the Arts in Beaver Creek on May 7.

Kathey True of Radical Artists Agency, actor/producer Bill LeVasseur and Dirk Simon, drama instructor at CU Denver, will be industry judges, and entertainer Paul Borrillo will serve as the master of ceremonies.

“One thing that’s difficult is to get a talent agent down in Denver to take the time to meet with you,” Scully said. “Just exposure to these kind of people, like Kathey and Bill, is a wealth of knowledge and experience.”

Competitors have a limited amount of time during the talent show. They have one minute to set up, one minute to exit the stage and three minutes to perform. So there isn’t time for an electric rock band to set up, Scully said, but she hopes to change that in future years.

The goal is to develop this event into a state-wide competition, and, by doing so, increase the quality of local talent, bring business into our community during the offseason and gain maximum exposure and new opportunities for all involved, Scully said.

“Anytime you can perform and go through the quote, unquote audition and competition process, you raise the bar at what you do, and these kids know that,” Scully said. “They want to make performing some how part of their life and this is how to take it to the next level.”

Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14640, or

Vail, Colorado

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