ST. CHARLES – Shortly after receiving his first guitar when he was 10 years old, Joey Wilbur began playing and singing songs.
The 15-year-old Wilbur, who will be a sophomore at St. Charles East High School in the fall, will participate in the "Celebration of Music" YouTube virtual show at 6 p.m. Sunday. "Celebration of Music" is a talent search that showcases the best young musical talent across the globe. The event is co-hosted by TikTok superstars McKenzi Brooke and Reif Harrison.
Wilbur and other contestants will participate for an opportunity to appear on the Live YouTube show "Music Hangs with eTHAn" and be part of the 2021 nationally distributed PBS show "Celebration of Music" filmed in Los Angeles.
The audience will be able to place their vote and help determine the winner, who will be announced at the end of the live show. The "Celebration of Music" concept was inspired by Ethan Bortnick and his desire to give young musicians the same opportunities PBS afforded him.
Each virtual competition features a variety of talent, with two winners that will be selected to
advance to Los Angeles for the national episode. One winner is selected by the producers, and one winner is selected by the largest number of viewer votes.
Wilbur views the competition as a way to get his music out to more people.
"I always like to play in front of as many people as possible," he said.
The competition will feature a video of Wilbur playing one of his original songs, "One More Chance." He and the other contestants will also will be interviewed live as part of the show.
"I just really like that song and I wanted to play something original so that people could hear one of my songs," Wilbur said.
Wilbur has performed in front of crowds both small and large, including performing on two different occasions to thousands of people during a half-time show of a Chicago Bulls game.
"It's less scary once you're already up there," Wilbur said. "It's more nerve-wracking building up to it."
About a year after receiving his first guitar, Wilbur started playing live shows. He performed his first show at the Arcedium Coffeehouse in downtown St. Charles.
He is influenced by such musicians as Ed Sheeran and George Ezra.
"I like more acoustic, laid-back kind of songs," Wilbur said.
He has released three singles and hopes to release an EP by the end of the year. Wilbur hopes to continue to build an audience.
"I mainly want to get my name out there right now and get more gigs as much as I can," Wilbur said. "Being able to connect with people in the audience is probably my favorite part of performing and being able to talk to them afterwards."
Needless to say, his parents are proud of his accomplishments.
"It's fun to watch him, especially when he plays in front of a big crowd," said his father, KC Wilbur. "It's definitely a lot of fun to watch and to see how much fun he's having while he's doing it."
To find out where he will be performing next, go to his website, joeywilbur.com.