How it all began..
In 2007, Cr Wayne Smith from the City of Casey had an idea to run a vocal competition called 'Berwick Show Idol' to be held at the Berwick Show. In discussions with Naomi Horsley one night, who informed him she had always wanted to run a charity vocal competition for the Cancer Councils Relay For Life, Wayne accepted her proposal and together they started 'Berwick Show Idol'. In its first year, the competition raised about $700 towards Relay but Naomi had a vision she could take it further and simply 'ran with it'!
The name was changed to 'Berwick Show Star Search' and grew each and every year, raising approximately $1,000-$1,400 annually towards the chosen charity, thanks to entry fees & raffles. Heat venues changed several times due to the increasing number of supporters starting with the Central Hotel, Beaconsfield, to the Hampton Park Tavern, and the Dandenong Workers Club in 2013.
Along the way, a number of people volunteered their time to help the competition along including Louise Berkelmans who after judging one year decided she had more to offer and in 2010 joined forces with Wayne & Naomi to continue to enhance the competition even further.
In 2012, Star Search had raised enough money to proudly sponsor the Casey-Cardinia Relay For Life - an event that saw over 4,000 participants at Akoonah Park, Berwick take to the track to raise funds for the Cancer Council.
2014 saw a huge change in the competition and its future seemed brighter than ever. The structure of the competition changed somewhat and the heats were our biggest fundraiser yet!! An official volunteer committee was formed and Berwick Show Star Search became a registered 'unincorporated association'. We had sponsorship from local businesses and with raffles and silent auctions over 2 incredible heats, we raised a whopping $4,000 for Relay For Life.
Shortly after our incredible success in February 2014, we were approached by Westfield Fountain Gate and given the opportunity to hold our Grand Final within the shopping centre itself! An opportunity we simply could not pass up and jumped straight into launching a 2nd competition within the same year!!
As we no longer were affiliated with the Berwick Show, it was only fitting for a name change - and so we became -
'Star Search for a cause'.
With an 8 person strong committee our 2nd event for 2014 saw us hold our biggest auditions yet and the level of talent was raised yet again! Our heats raised even more money than we could have imagined and the Grand Final at Westfield Fountain Gate was an incredible success. With the support of celebrity judges - Steve Wade (Little River Band), Kiyomi Vella (The Voice 2012) & Lisa Edwards (John Farnham BV and vocalist in her own right) - our performers shone brighter than ever and we raised a total of $6000 bringing our overall total funds raised to OVER $15,000!!!!
2015 saw our competition grow even more and we once again raised over $6000! this enabled our funds raised to go towards a research grant through the Cancer Council's Relay For Life in Star Search's name! something we are extremely proud of.
Westfield Fountain gate once again supported us greatly and we were lucky enough to be supported by the one and only Stefan Dennis (aka Paul Robinson from Neighbours).
2016 saw our organisation take on a new avenue with the addition of a wish granting service named Star Search 'cause we care! As well as supporting the Cancer Council's Relay For Life, we also be allocated a portion of our funds to granting a wish for 1 or 2 chosen recipients with a current cancer diagnosis.
Our heats were once again a huge success raising lots more money for our charity and with the support of Stefan Dennis (Neighbours), Rahaart Adams (Nickelodeon, House Husbands) & Elle Murphy (The Voice 2016), our Grand Final at Fountain Gate was incredible. Raising over $6000 yet again, Star Search 2016 proved to be an amazing year yet again.
2017 & 2018 saw big changes when we had to change Grand Final venues at last minute and the Beaconsfield club kindly offered to host our event and what a success it was. We donated proceeds to the Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute bringing our total donated to Brain Cancer research to $10,000. We also proudly donated a Playstation & VR head set & accessories to the Monash Childrens Cancer Centre thanks to funds raised.
2019 saw us run another successful event with some new faces auditioning as well as seeing some familiar faces returning to the stage too. We donated all proceeds to the Olivia newton John Cancer Research Institute to support Prostate Cancer. And our grand finalists have been offered many opportunities to perform at various events including local carols by candlelights, berwick show and more.
This year in 2020, we are changing things up yet again! We are so excited to offer vocalists the chance to audition and record on our charity CD as well as perform with a live band at our launch night. With the chance to also work alongside a professional recording artist, this is an opportunity you do not want to miss.
We truly hope you enjoy the experience and wish everyone the very best of luck.
Our drive and reason behind Star Search has always been the same, from day one. Our aim is to provide an opportunity for vocalists of all ages, from all over Victoria, to perform in a variety of settings, to be given the opportunity to be heard, and to gain performance experience in a friendly and supportive environment. Performing does not stop at the Grand Final though. We commit to sourcing and offering performance opportunities to our winners and finalists throughout the year to continue to encourage and support you on your vocal journey. At the same time, we aim to raise awareness about Cancer and the ongoing need for funding into research & support programs raising as many funds possible and helping those affected by cancer in one way or another.
Who are we?
Naomi Horsley - Director, Secretary
Louise Berkelmans - Director, Treasurer
Lifetime honorary member: