History of Teen Idol SEASONS
Started in 2006 with 2007 being the first competition year, TI was created by Portland Parks & Recreation as "Portland Teen Idol" by South
Services Manager Jeff Milkes with support and assistance of his wife Tammie and daughter Maleia.
Seasons 1 & 2 had considerable budget allowing marketing and promotion for the English only competition designed to identify students that can
perform prior to their "Movies in the Park" (MITP) events thereby reducing that program's cost and helped get students off the street into a safe
and productive program that helped them get hands on experience. S1/2007 Winner: Charlie Danger (as Jordan Thompson) and S2/2008
Winner: Cameron Quick (as Jeff Quigley). Dennis Gleason and Dark Wing Productions produced a Television segment out of the 2008
Semi-Finals and Finale and filmed many summer performances that year. Charlie ended up in the top 25 of Nashville Star and opened for Hart.
Seasons 3 & 4, the program was internally transferred to the teen scene department to run program. This transition also changed staff from
qualified entertainment professionals that had created the program to an inexperienced employee that had no experience with the program, no
knowledge and no experience of the industry, marketing or project management which marked the decline of the program under the city.
S3/2009 Winner Gabriella Quintero and S4/2010 Winner Jeyonna Barr. With the re-organization, none of the sponsors, supporters or people
that made the program great in past years, were invited to participate in these years. Although program creator from PPR contracted Dark Wing
Productions each year to produce the pre-movies Director's message, filming of the idols were limited to parks performances.
Season 5 the program transferred to Dark Wing Productions under Dennis Gleason. The transfer was required for various reasons, not all 100%
disclosed but individuals close to the program saw an extreme decline in the program due to the inexperienced staff that was running it and the
number of students involved had hit an all-time low under that management. With DWP being both a city contractor with over 500 television
segments under their belt at that time, it was a natural transition.
Additionally, the new owner who helped with Teen Idol in 2008 as the television producer with a teen son Gabe Gleason at that time that made it to
live rounds on America's Got Talent and currently is a former 6 year executive with the Oregon Media Production Association, the only
organization in Oregon to promote entertainment production incentives and projects.
Haley Ward, a 14 year old middle school student from Gladstone won S5 in 2011 as the first year under Dark Wing Productions unfolded with their
first performance only 3 days after their finale at the state capital in front of the entire Oregon House - a perk of having the house chairperson's son
as a finalist that placed 2nd in final competition. This first year was also a test year for DWP that the City required to ensure that the program would
be run as good as or better than they did - with essentially 15% of the budget as consideration. Also turned out 3rd runner up Lovey James (as
Kiersten Bundy) who eventually ranked top 24 of season 14 of American Idol.
Season 6 - 2012 was a pinnacle year for the program as both Spanish and Stand-up competitions were added to the list of competitions that saw
Hailey Kilgore (Eng), Shani Plunkett (Span) and Alex Milshtein (aka Max Van Bureau) (Stand-up) as winners. Contests were added to
introduce diversity and expand the program beyond what it's model American Idol was doing without morphing into what America's Got Talent
was doing and truly becoming a one of a kind program that involved multiple talents and multiple languages. We held a free workshop at
Centennial MS (CMS) this year as well, the largest student influx in that year with 67 total schools, 27 were from CMS alone.
2013 Added Volunteer Service requirement for Season 7 with Emily Brady (Eng) and Daniel Nouynai-Herrera (Span) as winners but with a
reduction of city funding, saw the Volunteer and Workshop programs and standup comedy programs tabled due to the amount available was
reduced to much less than in 2012.
Related to what was Portland Teen Idol, the city of Beaverton's "Mayor's Youth Advisory Board"(MYAB) which 2012 Teen Idol (TI) finalist
Geetha Somayajula and TI volunteer Erin Cochran help create it with Dennis Gleason's help forming the first ever Beaverton Teen Idol
program designed to be partners with TI. The collaboration went as far as using DWP paper applications, TI processes and students that tried out
for the program automatically were entered into our program and the winner of the program was permitted to go on tour with our finalists. Jen
Rushen, 2009 Finalist, became a lead judge for the program.
2014 we attempted to add Russian in addition to the other Non-English programs for Season 8 but funding shortfalls fell to all time lows, requiring
us to cancel Spanish, Russian and Standup despite having had contestants tryout out for them. As it stood, the amount of funding was even less
than 2013 requiring the producer to foot a portion of the bill out of his own pocket. We dropped the "Portland" part of the name to just "Teen Idol".
Jen Rushen was promoted to Event Coordinator this season.
2014 the program also converted to a nonprofit under newly formed Dark Wing Foundation that would take into 2016 to actually become
incorporated to allow for fundraising that was just not possible as a community program. This also marked the final year for the Beaverton Teen Idol
(BTI), program under the city of Beaverton as the MYAB changed priorities. BTI was absorbed by the newly renamed Teen Idol program.
2015 retired the logo used for 5 years to mark the renovated program coming in 2016. This was the first year that all 4 contests were completed
with winners and finalists went on tour. Although the tour requirement was removed from the Russian Winner due to lack of performance
opportunities to sing in Russian in front of a Russian audience where as the Spanish and Standup students had opportunity to perform several
times. Also new for 2015 was the use of a full step & repeat backdrop behind the singers when auditioning and red carpet to go with it at
competition rounds that brought the program and potential sponsors to a new level.
Season 9 also brought a record number of performances in both Oregon and Washington which included many county fairs and pageants,
sometimes double booking events that resulted in a record 28 performances throughout the summer tour that officially Breana Eubanks (Eng
Singing); Emily Lara (Spanish), Sean Oulashin (Standup) and Jessica Vasilenko (Russian). 2009 Finalist Jen Rushen was also promoted to
be Director of the English program with some residual support of the other competitions.
2016 Season 10 we did a rebranding to a new look, new format and added non-competitive programs. Due to mid season unannounced budget
cuts after we had been working with the City as we have always done, we, like many organizations, lost funding as a record $2 million dollars that
were allocated for our type of program but the parks department decided to give it to large organizations in bulk and everyone else lost out.
Ironically, those $2 million for teen programs, came out of the budget that Teen Idol helped them raise at their bond rally in 2015.
2017 started out with curiosity and excitement as new Executive Director Krystal Davis was brought on so that former director Jen Rushen could
focus on her masters. With her brought new sponsors and now raising enough to pay for last year's deficit but still need additional funding to
complete this season.
The volunteer team is now officially "Teen Idol Volunteers" program that is for both those that volunteer to help the program, and those, including
contestants and alumni, that are or were in the program, volunteering for other non profits like the SOLV and other charity programs.
An official "Teen Idol Alumni Association" was created that allows semi-Finalists, Finalists, staff, volunteers, sponsors and parents of former
finalists/semi-finalists to be able to stay engaged at whatever level they wish to be involved and again promote Teen Idol.
|A Nonprofit program of the
Dark Wing Foundation
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