Not many people get to live their dreams, let alone by the time they're seven-yearsold.
But for Port Moody's rising star Elias Tyson Venegas, 7, he got to shine even brighter at the PNE Star Showdown on Aug. 21, placing first place in the competition and even getting to meet his self-declared hero and singing inspiration Michael Buble.
It couldn't have been a better day for a mother to have. "We're just beyond the moon," said Iris Samson, Venegas' mom. "The whole family was there and we're very excited. We're very, very proud of him."
Venegas wowed both the crowd and the judges with his own jazzy rendition of Route 66, the classic first made famous by beloved Nat King Cole.
"Elias was a star on that stage today," said Star Showdown judge Chad Joiner in a press release.
"He's exactly the type of performer this competition was made for. All of the finalists were incredible, and the judges certainly had a tough time deliberating. It was a great Star Showdown this year; you could tell the audience loved it."
But this wasn't Venegas' first rodeo. He has been performing all around the Tri-Cities the past 10 months, including winning third place at the Tri-Cities Got Talent contest during Golden Spike Days.
Venegas' formal training began only last fall when a close family friend started to coach him and eventually invite him to sing a few songs each week at a local jazz bistro.
At seven-years-old, he found the courage to perform on stage and took that passion to the PNE Star Showdown following in the footsteps of his singing idol Michael Buble, a one-time contestant of the show who would catapult into an international star.
For capturing the top prize, Venegas received $5,000 to do with whatever he likes.
Second place winner Ben Freemantle, 18, is another Port Moody resident making this year a Port Moody success at the PNE. He performed a contemporary dance for the crowd to a self-choreographed piece to The Cinematic Orchestra's To Build A Home, winning $2,000.
Third place winner is Jongsung Kim, 32, from Surrey. He performed a rendition of Above All on the saxophone, taking home $1,000.
Also on the stage this year was Port Moody resident Julia MacLean, 11, singing Don't Rain on My Parade, made famous by Barbra Streisand.
Venegas is just getting started on his path, and his parents are supporting him all the way.
"We're just going day to day," Samson said. "It's just so exciting for us. And in the future, anything that pops up we're happy to do.
"Although he was asking if he could sing with Michael Buble one day, and I had to tell him I don't know, but that would be awesome," she added.
Videos of Venegas' performance can be found on YouTube. Use the Layar app to see the video from the newspaper.
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