MARKHAM, May 16, 2023:  It was a showcase of excitement, expectation and applause as the panel of judges began to announce the awards at the Grand Finale of the 2023 Markham Talent Open Casting Call.

The winners in the singers, songwriters, dancers, actors, models and other performing artist categories walked up to the podium on May 13 at the Xinflix auditorium in Markham to be honored at the event. The biggest award, amidst the resounding sounds of applause, was given away to Nanamie Li and AC5, the winners of the Markham Talent – 2023 Open Casting Call, both of whom received a trophy as well as $2000 in prize money.

Winners in other categories also received trophies as well as cash prizes of $2000, with the second and third prize winners receiving $300 and $200 respectively and the opportunity to get booked by talent agencies.

The award winners were selected from a large pool of diverse talent who submitted their art and participated in this first ever Talent contest held across Ontario.

The event opened with a special feature performance by Maya Gamzu, semi-finalist and recipient of the golden buzzer at Canada’s Got Talent 2023 who charmed the audience with her mesmerizing voice.   Actress and judge in the Actor category Samantha Aucoin, who is also a singer/songwriter, captivated the audience with her musical voice and talent.

The event, co-chaired by Markham Ward 6 Councilor Amanda Yeung Collucci, Markham Arts Council Chair Stephen Chait and Markham Arts Council Executive Director Shruti Ganapathy, was the first of its kind to be held in the city of Markham.

“Markham Talent will be invited for a segment on stage at the City’s Canada Day celebrations this year that usually attracts an audience of 20,000–30,000 people,” said Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Honorary Chair of the event.

“I am amazed with such a wide pool of talent available in Ontario that was just waiting to be tapped,” said Councillor Collucci.  “It was a delightful surprise to see the energy and creativity and the diversity of talent that was showcased in Markham Talent.”

The impressive array of judges includes Juno Award Board Member – Aideen O Brien; Brian Levy, Casting Director; Amy Wright, Producer / Dance Choreographer /Casting Director of The Next Step; Robert Laidlaw, Singer-Songwriter / Juno Awards Nominee; Patricia Jarosz, Talent manager; Cynthia Cully, Model Agent / Manager; Jessica Gregory, Toronto’s Top Runway Coach; Lucas Nguyen, Actor / Singer; Samantha Aucoin, actress; David Chester,owner of Chalet Studio; and Sarah Bay-Cheng, Dean, York University, School of Arts, Media, Production and Design (AMPD).

“Congratulations to all the winners,” says Stephen Chait, chair of the Markham Arts Council.  “Everyone is a winner as each one of them showed the courage and strength to enter into the Markham Talent contest.”

All proceeds from this event will go towards helping Markham Arts Council drive economic growth in arts, culture, and tourism sectors within the City of Markham.

Complete List of Winners:Group A: 16 and under category:Overall Champion 1st Winner – Nanamie Li, Music
Overall Champion 2nd Winner – Daniel Tamburro, Dance
Overall Champion 3rd Winner – Ethan Sohrabian, Model

Music Category Winner – Stephen Tang

Dance Category Winner – Ashley Chau

Model Category Winner – Brooklyn Williams, Stargo Model Academy

Actor Category Winners:
1st – Serena Wang
2nd – Kelly Hof
3rd – Liat Assraf

Group B: 17 and over category:

Overall Champion 1st Winner – AC5, Dance
Overall Champion 2nd Winner – Emma Ren, Music
Overall Champion 3rd Winner – Annie Liang, Lindance Studio – Dance

Music – Breanna Ells

Dance – Spread Dance

Model – Truong Ng

Actor Category Winner –
1st – Kavita Taluja
2nd – Anju Malhotra
3rd – AJ Spatola

About Markham Talent (

  • Lead by Councilor Collucci, Markham Talent 2023 Open Casting Call is an event to promote performing arts and entertainment industry in the City of Markham
  • Organized by Markham Ward 6 Councilor’s office and Markham Arts Council, this exciting event is co-chaired by Markham Ward 6 Councilor, Amanda Yeung Collucci, Markham Arts Council’s Board Chair, Stephen Chait and Markham Arts Council’s Executive Director, Shruti Ganapathy
  • All proceeds from the event will go towards Markham Arts Council’s mission to continue to support and promote local Markham artists on a global scale.
About Markham Arts Council (
  • Markham Arts Council is a registered, nonprofit, and charitable organization, first established in 2004 with a focus on connecting local artists and promoting the various diverse forms of art in Markham. It was founded to help the local under-served artists and arts organizations to come together, network, share their resources and grow.
  • Over the past 16 years, the Arts Council has played a leadership role in the community, providing quality programming and services.