ALMAGUIN – Warm up your voice and get your tap shoes on. It’s time to audition for the Lions Christmas telethon.
“It’s a great opportunity to showcase your talent,” said Pat Veltri, talent organizer for the Lions CTV Children’s Christmas Telethon. “It’s a great experience to be part of a live broadcast.”
Veltri said the audition process is a simple one.
You can enter on line by visiting www.lionsctvtelethon.com or pick up an application at CTV, which is located at 245 Oak Street in North Bay. Entries require a short video and biography, and your talent can include anything from comedy, music, dance, or any other unique skill you want to share.
“We do get many repeat entrees, but have special consideration for first time applicants, to be fair,” she said.
Following the Oct. 21 deadline, the decisions will be made and the scheduling will begin.
The telethon helps more than 250 families, who have fallen on hard times, enjoy a wonderful holiday season. Funds raised on the show are used to purchase food and gifts for all the families in need.
Veltri said many people don’t realize the effort that goes into putting the show together.
“Rehearsal night is when everyone gets a really good sense of the work involved in a television production,” she said.
But even though the focus during the production is on performing, Veltri said she encourages performers to remember why they are there and who they are truly performing for.
“My very last comment to all the performers at rehearsal is, ‘Please remember the cause.”
Veltri said last year two young brothers performed, as well as conducting a fundraiser in their garage a few months before the show with all funds raised being donated to the telethon.
“The night of the show, the boys gave me a card and a gift,” said Veltri. “That was a first for me. The card was filled with heartfelt words that brought me to tears. Those moments you don't forget.”
Veltri said there have been many memorable experiences over the years, including those performers who gained recognition from their participation in the telethon.
She said as result of last year's show, one of the female performers, an opera singer named Amy Wallace, will be performing at the Davedi Club in November with American tenor, Aaron Caruso.
“You just never know what can happen as a result of the telethon,” said Veltri. “All of the acts are special to me. From the children's acts, to large groups, to the single performer, each one adds a special flavour to the show, and combined, make the show come alive.”
Veltri said Latin dancer, Andres Jaramillo, who performed a salsa dance during last year’s telethon, was so talented, not just in dance, but in having a great wit and good speaking skills, that the organizers offered him a chance to host part of last year's broadcast.
“He did a wonderful job, and we received many good comments about his hosting,” she said. “Andres added even more cheer, to the stellar group of hosts.”
Veltri said the atmosphere during the broadcast is calm behind the scenes.
“We have an excellent team … But, you have to be on your toes, ready to expect, the unexpected,” she said. “The night of the show is very exciting. By then, I have already talked to each performer, many times, and have come to know them all. We have already discussed song choices, wardrobe, and everything in between. So, come two o'clock on Dec. 1, for me, it's like watching your kids go to school for the first time.”