By Alex Browne
Hayley Woodin and the Chickabooms
Youthful contingent will be showcased at PNE
Aug 16 2005
Young performers from the Semiahmoo Peninsula are well represented in this year's Star Discovery Talent Search at the PNE.
In addition to twin duo Camille and Carmen Thomas, semi-finalists in the adult competition; dancers Kylie Doobenen and Angella Slaunwhite have qualified in the Kids Talent Division, along with Surrey-based pop group The Chickabooms, which includes White Rock's Hayley Woodin on back-up vocals and keyboard.
Slaunwhite, 11, a student of White Rock School of Music and Dance, excels at both jazz and ballet.
This year she scored 90 in Royal Academy of Dance exams, receiving a Grade 2 certificate with distinction - the second highest result among students from three local schools.
But what caught the PNE judges' eye was a video of her solo jazz routine to Shania Twain's Any Man Of Mine.
"I did my dance at my house and my mom recorded it, and we just sent it in," Slaunwhite said.
Mom Valerie had heard about the contest on the radio and asked her daughter if she was interested in competing.
"We asked her teacher, Sheila Fergus, what she thought and she she said to try, but for Angella not to get her hopes up too high."
Instead the Slaunwhites received an email congratulating her on making the semifinal round Aug. 27.
"When I got home from school my mom told me - I was crying," Slaunwhite, in Grade 6 at Peace Arch Elementary, said.
Competition doesn't faze her, and she's been enjoying her first year as a soloist, competing at Dance Power in Abbotsford and Surrey Dance Festival.
"I just love dancing so much," she said.
"I like dancing in front of people, and I'm looking forward to dancing on the PNE stage. I want to go really far in dance - I want it to be my career both in jazz and ballet."
Woodin, 13, is also looking forward to competing at the PNE with The Chickabooms Aug. 23.
"We've been rehearsing at least once a week and during our smaller gigs we'll probably be playing our PNE song twice - we only have four minutes and we want to make it as solid as possible."
The song, What I Like About You, was originally performed by The Kinks.
Her seriousness about music typifies The Chickabooms, who have notched 70 gigs since forming in October of 2002.
Notable appearances have been playing for Canada Day in both Langley and Abbotsford and playing a half-time show for Canadian Idol finalist Karen-Lee Batten; the band's pop style ranges from covers of Beatles, Joan Jett and Avril Lavigne, to originals, which now represent a quarter of the playlist.
Lead singer and guitarist Valerie Miller, her drummer brother Keith, bassist Shannen Young and Woodin first got together because they were all taking music lessons from the Millers' mom.
Woodin, entering Grade 9 this year at Earl Marriott Secondary (she plays bass in the school's concert and jazz bands) has branched out into jazz piano with White Rock's
"It's helped a lot," Woodin said, who counts Maroon 5, The Beatles and Queen among her influences.
"I understand better now how to build songs, about chord progressions, and about how, if I put a couple of notes here, it will sound OK instead of really bad."