Threeyear-old steals the stage
Open singing contest draws country lovers from across province
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
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.
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.
First went to debbie Turner. yvonne Bonnah was runnerup with rita-Lynn French taking third. Fourth went to Theresa gall.
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.
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.