Arts & Culture

RichCity Idol celebrating Sweet 16

By Don Fennell

Published 1:22 PDT, Tue May 28, 2019

Last Updated: 4:04 PDT, Tue July 2, 2019

In an Indigenous language, kigoo is a fast-swimming fish. A pretty apt name for a Richmond swim club that throughout its 60-year history has routinely led the pack.

It takes more than just talented singers to make RichCity Idol hum. Behind the scenes, a team of dedicated of volunteers helps to ensure every note is reached.

Jesse Hsieh is lead producer for the 2019 show May 29 at Richmond’s landmark, Gateway Theatre.

An avid supporter, and advocate for student leadership in the community, the Grade 12 Steveston-London Secondary student is excited to be working with equally passionate and dedicated individuals to provide a successful and entertaining iteration of a beloved annual event.

“I took on the lead role so I could further build on my leadership skills,”says Hsieh,who, encouraged by friends, started volunteering at RichCity Idol a few years ago.

“They originally asked me to come and see the show when I was in Grade 8. Then, I applied to be a volunteer.”

Hsieh has always been a keen volunteer, and is a member of his school’s student council and the Rotary International youth group Interact which through service encourages them to become responsible global citizens.

Hsieh strongly encourages other students to volunteer. But, he says, sadly fewer are willing.

“They’re (increasingly) more focused on academics and spending less time getting involved in the community. I think Richmond provides a lot of unique opportunities for community involvement and many students are missing out on unique experiences. RichCity Idol is an opportunity that provides leadership skills and development that not a lot of other organizations provide.”

Natasha Jung is the executive producer and co-founder of the popular talent show.

“My best friend and co-founder Martin Hui and I were fans of the (tv show) back when it was a hit in 2004,” says Jung. “My own vocal coach told me about how the schools back in her village in the Philippines would have annual competitions, so we decided to try the same for our own community.”

Jung says, more important than the popularity of the event, RichCity Idol provides an opportunity for students to develop the skills, discipline and confidence that come from participating, either on-stage or behind-the-scenes.

“The fact we’re celebrating our ‘Sweet 16’ means that opportunities to celebrate music, community and student leadership are still relevant, of value and of interest to students and the community.”

Jung is most proud of how RichCity Idol has served as a launchpad for the alumni’s education and career paths’ from performing artists to community leaders to doctors and entrepreneurs.

Going forward, she hopes to see student leaders and competitors continue to set goals that align with their hearts.

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