Long live rock.
Evoking sounds of the past with precision, classic rock band Youth Be Told was crowned the inaugural champion of the Your Big Break talent contest Saturday at the Great Neck Arts Center.
After much deliberation and five sets of music, the young rockers — none more than 15 years old — finished on top of a talented group of competitors in music industry professionals and a supportive audience.
The competition, which began several months ago with an open call and online submission process for Long Islanders, included two semi-final performances that culminated in a final evening of top notch local music at the Great Neck Arts Center featuring five final acts.
On the bill Satuday was Cold Spring Harbor singer/songwriter Jilian Rae, multi-instrumentalist Andrew Gabriel from Ronkonkoma, the boys of DOINK! from Glen Cove and South-African born Great Neck native Yael Lerato, the runner-up in the competition.
Judging was based on performance, raw talent and overall presentation of songs and counted for two thirds of the total vote tally. The remaining one third was based on audience participation.
The Your Big Break showcases were a first in what is planned to be a yearly contest to support and promote young musicians in the area, according to event organizers.
Prizes included an opening slot performance at Webster Hall in Manhattan, recording studio time at Betamax Studios, mentoring sessions and a $250 gift certificate at All Music Inc.
Performers who participated in this Big Break showcase will be used as opening acts for many other upcoming events at the Great Neck Arts Center and at affiliated company programs.
Special guests and judges included Richard Pawelczyk of Webster Hall, David Caggiano of Betamax Recording Studios, Linda Ingrisano of Five Towns College, Jerry Lembo of Jerry Lembo Entertainment Group, Guy Brogna of All Music Inc., Steve Tramposch of Launchpad Entertainment, former Elektra and Capitol
A&R executive Adam Craig Ellis of The Paramount, Peter Abraham of BB Kings
Blues Club, Sam Fruner of Loaded Rock Shows, Tito Batista of Black Rose
Productions, Randy Nichols of Force Management, radio personalities Rob Rush - and Bill Edwards, writer and photogapher Bernadette Giacomazzo, Matthew Reich of Lights Resolve, Billy and Bobby Allesi of Alessi Brothers, Cathy Henderson of Antigone Rising, Richard Petrello of Petrel and Tara Eberle-Drouin, a songwriter for the band Iridesense.