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Maple Ridge talent at PNE Star Showdown

Matt Kennedy and Erika Bernard compete this weekend at the Fair at the PNE in Vancouver.
Matt Kennedy

A dancer and a singer from Maple Ridge will be vying for the top prize at the PNE Star Showdown this weekend.

Erika Bernard is competing in the kids division, while Matt Kennedy will battle nine other contestants in the adult division.

Both seasoned performers, Bernard and Kennedy have qualified for the Star Showdown before. The province-wide talent show search will showcase performers from many different fields, including comedians, musicians, singers and dancers.

Kennedy, 28, is just as talented behind the lens as he is in front of it.   Prior to becoming a professional photographer, Kennedy was a high school music teacher, instructing students at Thomas Haney Secondary School.  Two years ago, he decided to switch careers to be able to spend more time with his wife and their three children.  Kennedy is also the music director at his local church and plays every Sunday with his band.

Bernard started dancing when she was six and has collected a stunning list of accolades in the past six years. The 12-year-old was one of only nine Canadians to make it to the finals at the Youth America Grand Prix in New York City.  She was offered a scholarship for a summer program at The Rock School for Dance Education in the States, but had already accepted a position at the Boston Ballet School's summer program.  Bernard aspires to join the Cirque du Soleil.  This is her second time competing at the PNE's Star Showdown.

• The 2012 semi-finalists will be competing at the Fair at the PNE this weekend (Aug. 18 - 21) from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the West Jet Concert Stage. This year's there will be daily prizes for first, second and third place.