When they get back to elementary school next week, two of the South Okanagan’s youngest performers will certainly have some interesting items to include in the obligatory “what I did on my summer vacation” essay.
While neither brought home the big trophy, eight-year-old guitarist/singer Beamer Wigley of Penticton and 10-year-old singer Mariah Gauthier of Summerland are going to have some great stories to share after making it to the semifinals of the PNE Star Showdown last month. The PNE was possibly one of the largest venues either of the two youngsters has performed at, but that’s not to say either is lacking in experience.
Wigley has had gigs at Smith & Co. and the Penticton Yacht Club, while Gauthier has sung the national anthem at Vees games as well as performing at a variety of festivals, including appearing at the Fat Cat Children’s Festival in Kelowna for the last three years.
“I’ve been teaching her since she was five years old,” said Gauthier’s voice teacher, Esther Osborne.
“She’s apparently been singing since she was about two or three; everybody says that, but with her it’s true,” said Osborne. “She is a very hard little worker. She really wants a life on the stage.”
Osborne said it was a wonderful chance for the young singers to perform at the PNE, but Gauthier has set a high standard for herself.
“She handles herself really well. It was very exciting for her and her family,” said Osborne. “She really loves it, she thrives on it.”