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Hosts & Judges

Meet our Community Living's Got Talent hosts and judges!


Rainer Noack is a strong and invaluable player in the Arts in Canada.  As a graduate of Sheridan College, McMaster University, and the University of Toronto, his many positive experiences have influenced him to develop, coordinate, implement, and encourage countless theatre programs in the Burlington area.  Most notably, he is the Founder and Director of Burlington Student Theatre since 1978, which offers one of the finest experiences currently available to students in Ontario.  He has taught Drama in both the Public and Catholic School Boards.  Rainer has inspired hundreds of students in the past to pursue careers in the Arts worldwide, and continues to inspire many more. Rainer is the recipient of notable awards, such as the 2013 Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, and has been recognized as the Burlington Arts Person of the Year in both 1995 and 2009.  In November 2014, he became the second inductee into the Burlington Performing Arts Centre Hall of Fame, and is twice a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow.  Countless hours of volunteer time as well as involvement with the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, Creative Burlington, and Sheridan College's Performing Arts Advisory Council for Technical Theatre, are just some of Rainer's tireless efforts to promote the Arts. The work Rainer does is invaluable to the City of Burlington, the province and the Arts in Canada.

Joseph El-Khoury (Joe) is currently supported by Community Living Burlington's Employment Program; for the past three years, four days a week Joe does a fantastic job as a greeter for Home Depot and offers his customers assistance with great enthusiasm. It was this enthusiasm and his charming personality that led him to be the perfect choice to co-host the very first talent show in 2014 and the following year as well.

When Joe is not busy working at Home Depot he enjoys doing home renovations with his dad, listening to all types of music, and doing research on his local communities.

All of us at Community Living Burlington are as thrilled as Joe is to have him return to his role of co-host at this year's grand event.



Amber Armstrong is a retired dancer who performed with The National Ballet of Canada from 1985-1997. During her years with the company she performed a varied range of dynamic classical and contemporary roles, including soloist and principle roles in ballets such as Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, The Nutcracker, Giselle, The Merry Widow, Napoli, Elite Syncopations, and Don Quixote to name a few. With the NBOC, Amber had the privilege of performing on some of the great stages of theatre including the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC, the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC and the London Coliseum Theatre in the UK. Her travels with the company gave her opportunities to perform all cross Canada and the U.S., as well as Europe, Asia and Israel, and at times performing for dignitaries and members of royalty alike. Performance and theatre is still in Amber's blood and she uses that spirit of creativity in her every day life supporting people in the community who have a developmental disability.

Sam Forbes is best known for his viral video, The Dancing Barista, featuring Sam working at Starbucks and dancing while he works behind the counter. Sam's viral video caught the attention of Ellen Degeneres, and in February of 2016 he was featured on The Ellen Degeneres Show! Having a video go viral is just 'the tip of the iceberg' of what he has already accomplished.

Told that due to his diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Intellectual Disability, it would be difficult for Sam to find a job, Sam proves to us every day that that assumption has been totally wrong! "People with autism do not want to be looked at with sympathy, so I would say to anyone please, please, please keep an open mind about what people with special needs can do."  Says Sam.

Sam now holds 2 part-time jobs, will be attending Humber College's CICE program in the fall and is a strong advocate and public speaker and has given over 45 speeches for fundraisers, television, high schools, school boards, and youth committees. Sam advocates for people with ASD and Intellectual Disabilities. Above all, Sam advocates for inclusion. "Inclusion makes your world bigger" - Sam Forbes.


As the Member of Parliament for Burlington, Karina has been a strong advocate in the House on issues such as; youth employment, women's issues, pension enhancement, the environment, and the future of manufacturing. In 2016, she worked closely with the Burlington community to coordinate efforts to welcome privately sponsored and government assisted refugees from Syria who now call Burlington home. Karina continues to ensure that active community engagement and constituent representation are her top priorities.Karina was sworn in as Minister of Democratic Institutions on January 10th, 2017. As Minister, Karina will work to strengthen the openness and fairness of Canada's public institutions.From December 2nd, 2015 to January 9th, 2017, Karina served as the Parliamentary Secretary to Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Minister for International Development and La Francophonie. Karina is a community activist with deep roots in her hometown of Burlington. Her passion for public service began at a young age. After attending M.M. Robinson High School in Burlington, she spent a year in Mexico volunteering at an orphanage. As an undergraduate student at McGill University, Karina served as president of the Arts Undergraduate Society and organized a $20,000 fundraising campaign for victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Following graduation, Karina began her career as a consultant in the Migration and Development Program at the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. Karina went on to pursue a master's degree in International Relations at the University of Oxford. Upon completion, she moved back to her hometown of Burlington and worked as a Trade and Investment Specialist for the Mexican Trade Commission.

Pat Leyland is a partner at Taylor Oballa Murray Leyland LLP. Actively involved in the Canadian music industry for over 15 years.Pat began his career in the music industry as a guitarist and co-writer in the Ontario-based modern rock band Left Pencey, which ultimately signed a recording deal with U.S. major label Arista Records. After the band dissolved, Pat went on to graduate from McMaster University and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, where he served as president of both the Sports & Entertainment Law Society and the Technology & Intellectual Property Group, in addition to being a volunteer coordinator for Artists' Legal Advice Services, a non-profit organization that provides pro bono legal advice to artists living in Ontario. 

Outside of his law firm, Pat is a contributing author to Canadian Musician magazine, has conducted seminars for SaskMusic, Manitoba Music, and the Harris Institute, and has been a guest speaker for various organizations, including SOCAN, the Western Canadian Music Awards, University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law, the Songwriters Association of Canada, and Nova Scotia Music Week. 

Connie Smith is a free-lance journalist, media personality, college professor, consultant and specialist in presentation skills and one of the most recognizable faces and voices behind the microphone and on camera. Connie is known for her sense of integrity and compassion and showcasing stories that inspire. After an award-winning career in television news at CHCH-TV, and co-creating Always Good News on YES-TV, Canada's first and only good news how, she has carried her Always Good News brand into her presentation workshops, keynote addresses and media consulting as well as emcee work. Her interviews over the years include prime ministers, premiers, philanthropists such as Ron Joyce, Frank O'Dea of Second Cup, celebrities such as funnyman Jim Carrey, Margaret Trudeau, Sarah Palin and Olivia Newton-John as well as sports greats Doug Gilmour, and Canada's Olympians. Today she teaches young journalists at Mohawk College about their power to bring about positive change and the importance of strong inter-personal communication skills. For her work in supporting the community, including co-hosting the McMaster Children's Hospital Celebration Telethon and chairing the 2011 Hamilton United Way Campaign, Connie has been awarded Rotary International's Paul Harris Medal, and both the Queen's Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals.  She is a proud member of Mohawk College's Alumni of Distinction, the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction and the Order of Ontario.


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3057 Mainway Drive, Burlington,
Ontario Canada L7M 1A1
Tel: 905-336-2225
Fax: 905-335-9919
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