Star Catcher Brings Down the House in Hollow Water

Posted on

By Jacquie Black

Another successful Star Catcher competition took place this past weekend in Hollow Water First Nation. On March 3, 2007, the Wanipigow School was packed to the rafters for the 2nd round of competition in the Star Catcher Manitoba Aboriginal Talent Search. Fifteen competitors joined Errol Ranville and the C-Weed band on stage to vie for the top 3 spots and move onto the finals on June 21, 2007 at the Red River Ex.

A wide range of music genres and communities were represented at the show. Trevor Powderhorn was flown in by Perimeter Aviation from Tadoule Lake and Alexander McKay Jr., family it tow, drove all the way from Cross Lake to make it to the stage on time. Congratulations to all the contestants for a great performance and to the winners, Alyssa Nepinak, Wambdi Hanska and Mary Mahler.

Let’s learn a bit about our Hollow Water winners:

Alyssa Nepinak – 1st Place
‘I’m 6 years old and I started singing when I was about four. I’ve always liked singing to my favourite songs being played on the radio. I also like singing with my mom and especially when my dad plays guitar for me.

Some of my favourite singers to sing along with are Carrie Underwood, Sara Evans and Julie Roberts to name a few. I entered talent shows, some places that I’ve had a chance to sing were in Brandon, Pine Creek, Swan River and Grand Rapids where I placed 4th…I love getting up there and sometimes I can’t wait to perform in front of a live audience – my mom tells me to sing and just have fun….and that’s what I do.”

Wambdi Hanska – 2nd Place
Wambdi Chante Hanska resides on the Birdtail Sioux First Nation where she attends Grade 7. She is one of a family of 10 and began singing when she was 3 years old. Wambdi enjoys singing songs by Terry Clarke, the Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain and many golden oldies. Wambdi is also a Fancy dancer and believes strongly in her traditional values.

Mary Mahler – 3rd Place
Mary Mahler is a Winnipeg born singer and songwriter, her family originates from Lake Manitoba (Dog Creek) First Nation. Mary has lived in New York State but now resides in Winnipeg.

In 2003 Mary placed 4th in the N.C.I. Jam and received the Sidney Castel Award for singing ‘Poor, Poor Pitiful Me.’ In 2004 Mary sang at the Norway House Cree Nation York Boat Days Talent Showcase and placed 1st. Mary is also a member of the Aboriginal Writer’s Collective. Mary is very excited about working with the Star Catcher team to produce her very first professional recording.

Meegwetch to Hollow Water First Nation for inviting Star Catcher into their community!

Benefits of the Star Catcher Talent Search:

• Top three finalists from each competition will move onto the finals, National Aboriginal Day, June 21, 2007 at the Red River Ex and will be awarded a cash prize, one song recording (with National airplay on NCI FM), artist development and mentorship.
• 1st place winner at finals will perform at the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards 2007 (televised live on APTN).
• 2nd place winner at finals will perform at the First Night – Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards 2007.
• 3rd place winner will perform at the Manito Ahbee MusicFest 2007.

Requirements for registration are as follows:

• Non-refundable registration fee of $50
• Contestants must be emerging singers of Aboriginal descent, currently residing in Manitoba (Status, Metis, Inuit or Non-Status)
• Contestants must not have recorded a CD or Cassette Tape (professional or home made) that was made available for sale in stores or in the community.
• Contestants must not have performed in more than five venues in the last year.
• Competition is open to all ages.
• Contestants must provide a demo recording (on CD or cassette, original or cover-tune), music related biography and a recent photograph.
• Contestants will be backed up by the C-Weed Band or have the option of using their own band, or playing their own musical instrument.

Registration forms can be downloaded from the website at or can be picked up at the Manito Ahbee office. If your community is interested in hosting a Star Catcher competition call 204-956-1849 or email us at for more information.

Special thanks to our Sponsors – The Red River Ex, Manitoba Film and Sound, NCI Radio, Grassroots Newspaper, Manitoba Audio Recording Industry Association – Aboriginal Music Program and Perimeter Aviation.


Read more news