Alberta student take first place in Peace Country Idol Contest
Northern Alberta has a new rising star on its hands. On November 13, Meagan Houle placed first in the 2010 Peace Country Idol finale with her performance at the Grande Prairie Regional College's Douglas J. Cardinal Performing Arts Centre. Houle sang her way to the $1000 grand prize by performing Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ while accompanying herself on the piano. This was the 16-year-old’s second time in the competition, having placed second in last year’s competition.
The competition, which is primarily a singing competition, is open to Northern Alberta residents of all ages and abilities. Houle is from Donnelly, a small community located about two hours outside of Grande Prairie. When asked about her training, Meagan reports that she attends lessons with a vocal coach once per week but that she learned to play the piano mostly by ‘experimenting’. Interestingly, Houle doesn’t read sheet music and reports that she teaches herself new pieces by ear. A fact that is even more impressive when you consider that Meagan is legally blind.
The future looks bright for the young singer, as she plans to put her winnings towards recording her first album. In addition to pursuing her musical goals, she also has plans to attend University after High School and is considering studying English Literature.
While Meagan takes her musical inspiration from the likes of Sarah Brightman and Josh Groban, she herself is an inspiration to many young singers in her community and throughout the Province. When asked if she had a message to share with those who are looking up to her she offered these wise words of advice: “The most important thing is to not let other people limit you. You need to push through all of that. If you truly believe what you are doing and have that passion, the audience will know.”