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Final countdown

Six formidable musical opponents will face off during the final performance of the annual Dal’s Got Talent competition on Friday, Mar. 14 at the Grawood. We got to know five of these noble bards as they prepared for battle to win $1,000.

By Emma Skagen, Mat Wilush and Rosalie Fralick

Editor’s Note: Emily Ambrose, the sixth competing artist, did not reply to our interview request

Ellie Goldney – An IDS & SoSa student taking on the music world

Singer-songwriter Ellie Goldney. (Photo by Kit Moran)
Singer-songwriter Ellie Goldney. (Photo by Kit Moran)

Ellie Goldney is a talented singer-songwriter and a fourth-year international development and social anthropology student at Dal. She began taking guitar lessons in the eighth grade, and brought singing and songwriting into the equation soon after that.

Goldney has a powerful, emotion-filled voice, which I would quickly compare to Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine—that being no small compliment. Goldney plans on travelling after finishing her degree this year.

When asked via email about her favorite artists, she was quick to mention Laura Marling, winner in the Best British Female category at the 2011 Brit awards, and three time nominee in the same category.

“For the sake of space,” she adds, “any folk band to come out of England in the recent past. These were what I was listening to when I started writing my own stuff.”

If she wins Dal’s Got Talent, she says, “in an ideal world,” where the competition would help her to improve her musical career, she would use the money to take piano lessons or record some tracks.

Her “lamer, more realistic answer,” however, is that the money would go toward her student loans.

Check out Ellie Goldney’s Dal’s Got Talent performance on Youtube. I guarantee she’ll pull on your heartstrings. -ES


 The Third Wheel (Sarah, Brody and Tim) – When three is the perfect number

Trio The Third Wheel won't have you feeling left out. (Photo by Kit Moran)
Trio The Third Wheel won’t have you feeling left out. (Photo by Kit Moran)

The aptly-named folksy group The Third Wheel is made up of fiancés Sarah MacKelvie (ukulele/guitar/vocals) and Brody McGee (guitar/vocals), along with their third wheel, Tim Disher (banjo/fiddle/vocals). The band is the only group act performing in this year’s competition.

I sat down with Sarah and Brody—who seem heartwarmingly crazy about each other—for an interview.

Sarah, who is currently studying planning at Dal, has been playing guitar for about nine years and recently took up the ukulele. She most admires Said the Whale and Stars, but leaves the music writing to the boys.

Brody is studying nursing, which is how he met Tim. Both have only been playing their chosen instruments for a few years, with Tim having started playing the fiddle a few months ago.

Their varying musical influences explain the group’s unique mix of sounds: Brody is a huge fan of singer-songwriter Matt Pond, while Tim prefers ‘50s folk and old gospel tunes to modern music.

The group is happy to have had the opportunity to practice, play shows and increase their repertoire for Dal’s Got Talent. They hope to play at this year’s Paddlefest—a music festival in Brody’s hometown of St. Andrews, New Brunswick—and perhaps some other summer music festivals. -ES


Amber Oosthuyzen – Not a crease in the musical genes

Does Amber Oosthuyzen Tetris as well as she sings? (Photo by Kit Moran)
Does Amber Oosthuyzen Tetris as well as she sings? (Photo by Kit Moran)

Amber Oosthuyzen comes from a musical family. Her biggest musical inspiration is her mum, who constantly surrounded her and her siblings with music throughout their childhood.

Amber developed a passion for music when she was 10, while her parents were away on a road trip and her uncle taught her how to play her very first chord on the guitar.]

That guitar was a family friend’s old Fender San Miguel and it provided her first opportunity to put the words that she had always written to beautiful music.

In her spare time, Amber is an avid Tetris player. -RF


Meghan Naugle – Riding on a lifetime of performing

Good thing Meghan Naugle entered Dal's Got Talent on  whim. (Photo by Kit Moran)
Good thing Meghan Naugle entered Dal’s Got Talent on whim. (Photo by Kit Moran)

Meghan Naugle is in her second year of studying music at Dal. She completed her first year pursuing a jazz degree at Saint Francis Xavier University before transferring to Dalhousie, where she now studies voice.

She gutsily decided to participate in Dal’s Got Talent on the day of, when she saw a sign on campus during her church group meeting.

Naugle grew up in Dartmouth and has been playing the fiddle and performing since she was small—she even won the Youngest Fiddle prize at the Maritime Fiddle festival. She’s been singing for as long as she can remember, but became serious about it in high school.

She dreams of teaching music and French, and of someday having a family.

If she wins the competition, Naugle plans to put the money toward travel expenses to the Missouri Mid-South Conference of the United Church of Christ, where she can grow spiritually with fellow campus church groups from all over North America.

Naugle said she would see the monetary aid as “God answering a prayer.” She also mentioned that she has only been on a plane once in her life, making the trip extra exciting. -ES


Ryan Hartigan – Taking a scientific approach to rap

Ryan Hartigan's beats are as calculated as his homework. (Photo by Kit Moran)
Ryan Hartigan’s beats are as calculated as his homework. (Photo by Kit Moran)

Ryan Hartigan doesn’t do dirty gutter rap; his verses are calculated and flow to the pattern of his life.

Through his second song at the Dal’s Got Talent semi-finals, he takes a seat and works his way through a Rubix cube, rattling along a series of endless syllables. He wants to learn to do this all while blindfolded.

“I’ve always considered progression of any kind to be more like a life’s progression,” the fifth-year neuroscience student says. “The more intelligent I become, the more intelligent my music will become.”

Hartigan has been rapping since the age of 14, having first found an interest in the work of Tupac.

“Rap,” he says, “allows for you to say more in a short period of time. It’s more about the lyrical content of the songs, rather than the music.”

After graduating this year, Hartigan is planning to pursue his master’s in Scotland, and will be studying the neurological phenomenon of synesthesia—the involuntary blending of sensory expressions. His life’s passion is to teach, and he brings this approach to his musical styling.

“I consider myself first and foremost a scientist. I want to teach people and I use music as a conduit. I’m never going to give up on music. There’s no plan A or B; some people say that music was always their backup plan, but I see them as very intertwined. -MW


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