Five dynamic Southland performers will compete in a star-studded ILT Southland Entertainment Award show tomorrow night.
The show will feature 22 awards as well as guest performances by a host of Southland's finest singers and musicians, from pop, rock and country to pipe band and brass band music.
Expat Gore singer/songwriter Jackie Bristow, the show's special guest performer, will be honoured as Southland's international music ambassador.
Entertainer of the year finalists:
CHERYL ANDERSON has been a prominent figure in the Southland music scene for almost 20 years. She gained her ATCL in singing and, in 2003, was named the Southland Vocalist of the Year and Southland Entertainer of the Year.
In 2004 she recorded an original album and toured the country with her band Bandit promoting it.
She has sung with numerous other Southland bands, including Bandit, Lipstick, Old School and the acoustic duo Bikini.
In 2011, Anderson featured in TV One's 2011 New Year showcase Freshly Squeezed Talent, filmed live at the SkyCity Theatre in Auckland.
The highlight of her career to date is winning the 2013 New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards senior overall title, after taking out four of the solo sections. This entitled her to travel to the 2014 Tamworth Country Music Festival in Australia, where she achieved a runner-up and a section win in two awards.
She continues to write original music and regularly performs in her duo Old School. She is married to Andy and has a 6-year-old son.
SIMON GALT: Professional musician/entertainer Galt made his first public performance as drummer for high school thrash metal band Extrocite in 1991.
He played drums for 10 years with the bands C-RED, Bliss, Secret Weapon and Captain Scarlet, before moving to the front of the stage to sing for Captain Scarlet.
In 2008, he became fully professional solo musician. "No-one works harder than a man on a mission - feeding the family, " he says.
In 2010, Galt received a Best Original Album nomination for his album Bricks & Mortar, recorded at his home studio under the band name The Yardmen.
The hard-gigging performer says he will play any inn house, out house or tree house. This will be the fifth time he has been nominated for Southland Entertainer of the Year award.
Galt says his job as a fulltime musician and entertainer makes for better work stories and Monday sleep- ins.
MICHELLE LANGE is an accomplished performer with a strong background in singing, dance, and musical theatre.
Voted Southland's Vocalist of the Year in 1998, Lange has played many of the great leading ladies of musical theatre in Wellington, Dunedin and Invercargill. Some standout performances include Eponine in Les Miserables, Sandy in Grease, Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, and Roxy Hart in Chicago.
After five years in Wellington, Lange returned home to Invercargill in 2006 to perform as Columbia in Invercargill Musical Theatre's production of The Rocky Horror Show.
Lange was a founding member in Southland's vocal trio Lipstick, performing all over New Zealand and internationally. She also toured Germany in 2006 as a vocalist in Pipeworkz. Another proud moment for Lange came when she sang with Rob Guest in his last Southland concert in 2007.
In 2013 Lange joined forces with Daniel Monteath to form the piano- vocal duo D&M and maintained a hectic schedule of shows and concerts.
SIMON THOMPSON cut his teeth in the Auckland music scene aged 5. After following his dreams south as a teen, via experiences with the navy, air force and army bands, he gave his music career another big shove.
He was the original lead guitarist for Bandit, and saw a lot of hours of stage time around Southland. He has been involved in many shows, both televised and live, and has been both a Guitarist of the Year recipient and also a Southland Entertainer of the Year nominee.
After releasing his debut album Pay Your Dues in May 2011, he has added being the lead guitarist in the Grease musical show band to his CV, as well as being musical director of the Legends shows, featuring such artists as Suzanne Prentice. He was the lead guitarist for the Stadium Southland grand opening and will play guitar in the coming musical Mamma Mia.
The co-founder and shared lead vocal of hard-working pub band After Hours, he now fronts his own blues/ rock trio, Triple Shot, as well as being a member of That 80s Band.
BRYAN TOWNLEY has been performing since the age of 14. His key genre is country, but he has been involved in many stage productions, including Southland Musicians Club theatre restaurants and major productions with the Invercargill Musical Theatre Company.
He has performed throughout New Zealand at country-music shows, festivals and awards and has performed at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in Australia several times.
As frontman of award- winning Southland country-rock band Exposure in the 1980s and 90s, he established himself as one of Southland's premier entertainers. Exposure won the group section of the Gore Gold Guitar Awards in 1995, with Townley taking out the male vocal section and finishing runner-up for the overall title. In 2000 Townley went all the way, winning the Gold Guitar overall award.
He was inducted into the Southland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. In early 2013 Townley auditioned for television talent show X Factor and made it into the national top six of the over-25s judges' retreat.
Buoyed by the national exposure and strong local support, Townley fulfilled a long-held dream and finally recorded his debut album, My Turn. He continues to be busy performing throughout the country at various shows and festivals.
- The Southland Times