Durham’s Best

Presented by The Optimist Club of Brooklin

Bree Ells
Durham’s Best Singer 2018
Finale performance with The Professors of Funk Rhythm Section

Please note: 2020/21 Season has had to be cancelled due to COVID.

We look forward to starting the program up again, hopefully next year, and look forward to sharing your talents with Durham Region once again.

Music industry professionals proudly helping aspiring young singers develop confidence and performance skills for over 15 years.

We’re thrilled to provide Durham’s Best as a free community program thanks to the generous support of our business and community partners.

If you attend school in Durham Region you could be Durham’s Best singer.

Finalists receive free performance development workshops led by entertainment industry professionals.

Season finale takes place with a live professional band.

One high school student will take the title of Durham’s Best Singer and one elementary school student will take the title of Durham’s Best Junior Singer. 

Good Luck …and don’t forget to join our mailing list (currently inactive) below for more updates.

Every step of the way…

Finalists receive monthly performance workshops and rehearsals with entertainment industry professionals, as together we prepare to step out onto the stage.

  • Practice
  • Knowledge
  • Experience

In the past, workshop guests have included:  Dan Clancy (Lighthouse), Kate Todd, Justin Hines, Leah Daniels, Dave Baksh (SUM41), Neil Donell (Chicago), Dale Russell (The Guess Who) …and many more.

Finale performance with The Professors of Funk Rhythm Section

Designed and delivered by music industry professionals, Durham’s Best has proudly helped aspiring young performers develop confidence and performance skills for over 15 years.

Thanks to ongoing support from local organizations, community members and businesses, we’re thrilled to provide a community program filled with exciting educational experiences for youth.

Thank you to all who have helped make this program possible, with special thanks to:

Sandra Mammone (and family), The Whitby Public Library, John Blackman, Renaissance Baptist Church, The Brooklin Town Crier, Group 74, Rob Hanson (and family), Folkes Hanson Productions Inc., The Optimist Club of Brooklin, Long & McQuade, Pat Perkins, Bob Perkins, The Association in Support of the Whitby Performing Arts Centre, The Brooklin Spring Fair, Hometown Music Council, Durham Countertops, Hair Experience, Michael Kelly’s Restaurant, Durham Improv, and Durham Children’s Aid Foundation.

Thank you as well to all the amazing supportive parents and past participants who have helped make our program shine.

Congratulations to Durham’s Best 2020 Finalists.

Finalists – 2020

Our journey… from Brooklin Mini Idol to Durham’s Best


Brooklin Mini Idol Takes To The Stage

“Hey wouldn’t it be fun to have a singing competition for kids at the Brooklin Harvest Festival?”  Thanks to support from Whitby Public Library, Brooklin Town Crier, Group 74 and Renaissance Baptist Chuch, under the direction of program founder Sandra Mammone, Durhams Best is launched as Brooklin Mini Idol.


Brooklin Mini Idol connects with the Music Industry

Rob Hanson, a recording engineer/producer with JUNO Nominated work and over 200 album credits including mixing Canada’s first platinum selling album, joins the Brooklin Mini Idol team.  As one of our program’s key partners, Rob and his company developed and delivered our workshop program in addition to donating time and resources such as recording sessions, video shoots and live sound to help enhance the experience for our young performers.


A New Community Partner

The Optimist Club of Brooklin comes on board as our new community partner, leading to renewed energy, growth and added opportunities for aspring young performers in our community.


Outstanding Achievement Award

The Brooklin Mini Idols receive an Outstanding Achievement Award from Whitby’s Mayor and Town Council for their fundraising efforts through sales of their single “Never End”.


Award Nomination For Our Workshop Program

Program Director Rob Hanson’s company and Brooklin Mini Idol are nominated for Durham Region’s Art of Transition Award in recognition of working together to develop and deliver Brooklin Mini Idol’s workshop program that brings entertainment industry professionals together with aspiring young singers.


Great News

The Mayor of Whitby, Pat Perkins, announces our youth music and education program is the recipient of an annual performing arts grant from The Association in Support of The Whitby Performing Arts Centre.


National Recording Artists and Producers

The Mini Idols lend their voices to help over 25,000 kids for coast to coast to coast sing all together on the largest recording of O Canada in history. A joint project by Hometown Music Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage.


New Name – Durham’s Best

As our program grows we update our name to reflect the changes.  We add a senior singers category and bring in a professional band to perform with the finalists for the first time.

Video Highlights from Past Seasons

2022 Competition

Although we don’t know what to expect in 2022, link here the the rules for 2020:

RULES – 2020 Season

1. Audition registration will be available online at www.DurhamsBest.ca and must be electronically submitted before November 15, 2019.

2. There is no fee to participate in this program. Funding provided by The Optimist Club of Brooklin through a grant from The Association in Support of the Whitby Performing Arts Centre.

3. This program is primarily a music and performance education program. Finalists must actively attend and participate in all monthly Saturday workshops (Typically the 1st Saturday of the month from January to May) provided by music industry professionals. The objective of the program is to help singers develop confidence and experience on stage, to complement their singing abilities.

4. At the end of the program singers will participate in a finale where one singer will win the title of “Durham’s Best Singer 2020” and one junior singer will win the title of “Durham’s Best Junior Singer 2020”. (Grade 9 to 12 – Senior / Grade 1 to 8 – Junior.)

5. Singers must be currently attending a Durham Region School, grade 12 or under. Singers who are participating in private and home education plans will be considered on an individual basis.

6. Applications are considered on a first come first served basis. It’s highly recommended to get your application and video audition submitted early as we have limited time slots available for live auditions (semi-finals).

7. A committee called DURHAM’S BEST Committee will be formed to review auditions and select finalists.

8. DURHAM’S BEST Committee cannot guarantee they will or can view all audition submissions. The DURHAM’S BEST Committee is in no way liable for this loss of opportunity.

9. All DURHAM’S BEST Committee decisions are final.

10. Only applicants selected to move forward in the competition process will be contacted. DURHAM’S BEST Committee will not provide any feedback, comments or confirmations to applicants.

11. Durham’s Best reserves the right to post submitted audition videos on websites, social media, etc. This does not increase or lessen your chances and does not mean your submission has or will be selected to move further through the audition or competition process.

12. All applicants selected as semi-finalists and finalists will be required to have their legal guardian sign a release form.

13. All participants and their family members are to act in an appropriate and respectful manner. No bullying, abusive language or negative comments are tolerated. Failure to comply will result in a request to leave the program or premises at any time.

14. The DURHAM’S BEST Committee reserves the right to change the structure of the program or competition as it sees fit including, without limitation, adding or deleting auditions, competitors, changing the anticipated auditioning schedule, show scheduling, etc.

15. The DURHAM’S BEST Committee will retain no liability to anyone who is unable to attend or take part in any part of the program for whatever reason.


16. Open Auditions are by video submission only. Videos must be one single continuous shot using the camera’s internal microphone. You will not be judged on video quality – so don’t worry.

17. All audition videos must start with a spoken slate as follows:
a. I am: YOUR NAME
b. This is my video audition for Durham’s Best 2020.
c. Please visit DurhamsBest.ca for more details.

18. For the video audition, singers must sing one song of their choice along with a pre-recorded karaoke style music track. Song must be a commercial release – sorry no originals will be considered. Semi-finalists and finalists will continue to work on and perform the song they auditioned with, no song changes. Please see “Song Choice Tips” on our website for more information.

19. Finalists will be performing their song with a live house band. Finalists will not be permitted to provide their own accompaniment or play an instrument along with the band.


20. Finalists will be judged on a combination of factors such as talent, skill, speaking abilities, stage presence, and participation at finalist workshops.

21. A panel of judges selected by Durham’s Best Committee will help select the winners.

22. A portion of each singer’s final mark is based on their attendance and participation at the workshops. Twenty-five (25) points are awarded for each workshop attended. Ten (10) points are deducted for each late arrival or early departure from a workshop. Maximum 100 points.

23. As stated in rule 18 – Finalists must sing the same song they sang, and was selected by the Durham’s Best committee, during the audition process. No substitutions.

24. The winner/s will be announced immediately following the conclusion of the finals.

25. In the event of any dispute concerning the operation of any element of the Competition or these Competition Rules, the decision of the Durham’s Best Committee will be final.


The 2022 program will have a new director and new program layout. Watch for posts on Facebook where the new season and contacts will be posted.