Three­year-old steals the stage

Open singing con­test draws coun­try lovers from across province

North Bay Nugget - - FRONT PAGE - Michael chen

One of the stand­out per­form­ers at this year’s North­ern On­tario Open Coun­try Singing Con­test was a three year old.

“We had a lit­tle girl who was a con­tes­tant in the karaoke who was three, and for a three-year-old to re­mem­ber words sing pretty well on key was amaz­ing,” said Donna Roberts, an event or­ga­nizer.

The 29th an­nual con­test was held at the Billy Bar­ber Com­plex this week­end. Roberts es­ti­mates there were at least 800 peo­ple at the event each day.

Donna Lee Guillemette, a North Bay na­tive who was third in the fe­male open cat­e­gory, was just happy to be per­form­ing again.

“For me it was dif­fer­ent be­cause I haven’t been able to do the last three years since I’ve been sick, and I’d pre­vi­ously been do­ing them from day one,” she said, adding that this was the first year that she and her hus­band both made it to the fi­nals (Robert Guillemette fin­ished sec­ond).

One of the songs Guillemette per­formed was I’m Not Lisa, which is per­sonal for her “be­cause my mum and dad passed away and it’s some­thing that they al­ways loved to hear.”

roberts has a sim­i­lar at­tach­ment that ex­tends to the genre as a whole.

“It re­minds me of fam­ily tra­di­tion. These guys come from Tim­mins, to the far north, right down to strat­ford,” roberts said. “and when they come and see each other, there’s hugs. They just love each other and it’s the coun­try mu­sic that brings them to­gether.”

This pas­sion was matched by the au­di­ence, which stuck around de­spite the poor weather.

“It was cold, peo­ple were sit­ting out here with blan­kets snug­gled around them, some of them had win­ter coats on. you’ll prob­a­bly see pic­tures of one of the judges with ear­muffs on,” roberts said.

roberts and the other or­ga­niz­ers have al­ready started plan­ning for next year.

“We just love coun­try mu­sic and we want to keep it a free event for all the peo­ple out there,” she said. “This is one place they can come and en­joy tra­di­tional coun­try mu­sic.”

North­ern on­tario open Coun­try singing Con­test results

Fe­male open

Ivory Labelle took home first, with Chan­tal Thorn as run­nerup. Third place went to donna Lee guillemette. Fourth and fifth place were taken by Natalie aquino and Cindi grif­fin, re­spec­tively.

Male open

shel­don Nick­er­son was awarded first in this cat­e­gory. robert guillemette took sec­ond and dale Wis­mer took third. They were fol­lowed by dan sigouin in fourth and shawn re­ich­stein in fifth.

Fe­male 50+

First went to deb­bie Turner. yvonne Bon­nah was run­nerup with rita-Lynn French tak­ing third. Fourth went to Theresa gall.

Male 50+

Pierre Martin was first, with Michael Fran­cis tak­ing sec­ond. robert John­ston came in third, Bill Cameron in fourth and ray Tin­ning fifth.


The duets cat­e­gory re­turned for its sec­ond year, with Ivory Labelle and John F. tak­ing home the gold. Les­lie-anne and shel­don Nick­er­son won sec­ond, with donna Lee and robert guillemette in third.

Fe­male 18 and un­der

In first place was Khloe Ber­trand. sec­ond went to Marissa olsen and third went to Keira shep­herd. Male 18 and un­der There were no en­tries in this cat­e­gory.


Is­abella Tay­lor was first, ai­den Wis­mer was sec­ond and olivia Wis­mer rounded it out in third place.

MicHAEl cHEN / ThE NuggET

Ivory Labelle (right) won first place in the fe­male open cat­e­gory at the 29th an­nual North­ern On­tario Open Coun­try Singing con­test held this week­end at the Billy Bar­ber Com­plex in Cal­lan­der.

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