The crowd sat silent as Luke Stanton placed his guitar on his lap and tapped his original song “Before I Go.”
His tapping style allows for both percussion and guitar in one.
Stanton was crowned the winner of the Gig Harbor Kiwanis Club Star Search contest on Saturday night. He performed another original — this time standing up — called “Keep Your Distance” in the semifinals.
“I wrote this song hoping that Dave Matthews and Mumford and Sons had a child and they named him Luke Stanton,” he said of his final song.
All 10 finalists, culled from an audition field, performed at the Gig Harbor Yacht Club. The range of style varied from funk to blues to opera. The field narrowed to three acts after the judges deliberated. The winner was chosen by audience vote.
The competition is one of the Kiwanis Club’s major fundraisers. President-elect Joe Loya said the money from the event goes into programs that help children in the area, such as the bike program which gives out hundreds of restored bikes to disadvantaged children.
Local talent is the draw to Star Search. All acts come from the greater Gig Harbor area.
The fellow semifinalists Lucca Love Rising and Heads Out The Window also received big reactions from the crowd.
Lucca Love Rising performed as a smaller version of a larger band. Two of five members of the band, keyboardist Cheri Neill and singer Christina Brewer, fused jazz, R&B and funk for a rendition on Brewer’s original “You Don’t Know Me Anymore.”
Rock band Heads Out the Window evolved over the course of the competition. On the night of the show it changed names. Originally the James Babin Band, the quartet brought the house down as the only full band with drums in the show.
Even those that didn’t make the final cut performed well. Master of Ceremony Jim Borgen said it is amazing how the talent pool has grown in the last few years.
Gig Harbor High School student Maddy Dullum shared her future plans in music. The 18-year-old piano player and singer shared with the crowd that she hopes to work on her craft in Europe after school. She, appropriately, played Billy Joel’s “Vienna.”
At 17, Katelyn Hart from GHHS was the youngest contestant. She brought her unique country voice to the seminal “House of the Rising Sun.”
Overall, though one winner walked away with the prize, all the stars found a way to shine.Karen Miller: 253-358-4155 karen.miller @gateline.com Twitter: @Gateway_Karen