One of the highlights of the Central Coast cultural year has arrived: the 22nd annual Youth in Performing Arts concert season, presenting five shows over five nights and featuring 140 performers selected from over a thousand young hopefuls who auditioned this year.
For the third year running I was there on opening night, thrilled and amazed once again by the astonishing array of talent that appeared in front of me. Of the many benefits I have enjoyed through my editorship of About the Central Coast, I am particularly grateful that I have been introduced to YiPA. The program showcases the talents of performers who have reached high school age and who are under 21, but it’s easy to forget about age while you’re watching the performances. I look forward to these concerts all year, and I go to enjoy a variety of first class entertainment. Supporting the Coast’s youthful talent is just a bonus.
This year’s program includes classical, acoustic and rock musicians and vocalists; ballet, tap, modern and alternative dance; musical and dramatic theatre and comedy; illusionists, mind readers and more.
The first concert opened with the Gosford High School Stage Band, a brass and woodwind ensemble with additional guitar, keyboard and drums. Their jazzy renditions of “The Chicken”, “Joshua Fit De Battle” and “Chameleon” got the show off to a rousing start. Self taught virtuoso, Dominic Rizzo, played a thrilling original piece that guaranteed his future career as pianist and composer, while Tom Hutchins’ performance of “Crossroads” made me wonder if he had truly bargained with a devil for his guitar skills.
Among the traditional musical instruments there were also a couple of percussive surprises. One young man’s drum was the box that he sat on, while another young woman found the rhythm with a plastic beaker!
Fine singers offered a variety of styles. I particularly enjoyed those who combined vocal and theatrical performance: such as Ricki Jade, whose “Climbing Uphill” revealed the agonies and ecstasies of musical auditioning, and Kate Harding who sang endearingly of her love for a Starbucks barista, “Taylor, the Latte Boy”. And there was also a highly entertaining dramatic monologue from Isobella Evans.
Dance was well represented and ranged from Scottish sword dancing from Veronica Law’s School of Highland Dance to modern pieces, such as Jaclyn Chambers’ interpretation of “Nude” that combined technical precision and grace with an emotional expression that held the audience spellbound.
This was just a small sample of the entertainment on offer this week, and congratulations are due to all the performers. Also to YiPA director Chris Cox and all those whose work, support, awards and scholarships have helped to make these shows possible – this year and over the past two decades. Long may the program continue to foster and encourage the remarkable talent of our Coast’s youth.
There are still seats available for the final performance on Saturday night. Don’t miss out! Book your tickets now via Laycock Street Community Theatre, Adults $21, Concession $17, Children $14. Phone 43 233 233 or visit http://www.layockstreettheatre.com,au .
[Images courtesy of Gary Jackson]