At the June 1 event, Markham Idol highlighted talent and passion in young singers.

Hosted by the Unionville Youth Council, the next generation of singers gathered at the Rouge River Community Centre to compete in the annual singing competition. This year, a record breaking number of more than 50 singers auditioned for the competition, however, only 17 acts were selected to compete in the final show.

The competition was divided into two age groups, with seven junior singers and 10 senior singers in each category. The top three in the junior category were Ryan Ghodse-Elahi (first), Erika Michalos (second) and Anannya Pandit (third). The senior winners were Johnny Rabbito (first), Zoe Michalos (second) and Kenneth Utleg (third).

Veronica Chan, this year’s Markham Idol adjudicator, 2008 junior Markham Idol winner and former Unionville Youth Council chair, said coming back to volunteer as a judge was a “full cycle, from receiving to giving back to the community.”

“Like every year that I have attended, the talent was amazing,” she said. “Everyone took the stage and owned it.”

Chan said, through Markham Idol, youth are not only able to share their talents with the community but develop their communication skills, on-stage presence and perform for a great cause.

Every year, the Youth Council selects a charity to donate the proceeds from Markham Idol. This year, those funds will go toward the P.A.R.T.Y. Program, a prevention and awareness program that teaches youth about the repercussions that come with alcohol abuse and how it can lead to risk-related trauma.

“[The program] takes youth through the path of a trauma patient, allowing them to experience what happens when young people make decisions that change their lives forever,” said Kristen Shiozaki, Unionville Youth Council, co-vice chair. “The council has decided to support this program and, together, move forward toward encouraging injury free, active lives for youth.”

Visit unionvilleyouthcouncil.com for details on other council initiatives.

Photo: Seventeen young singers performed at the Markham Idol singing competition.