And then there were seven …

Welles­ley Idol semi-fi­nal­ists to per­form at fall fair Sept. 12, with three mov­ing on to Ap­ple But­ter & Cheese Fes­ti­val

The Woolwich Observer - - LIVING HERE - ALI WIL­SON

THE 20 PROSPEC­TIVE

WELLES­LEY Idols have been whit­tled down to seven semi-fi­nal­ists.

After mak­ing it past the try­outs in late May, the re­main­ing hope­fuls are head­ing for the Welles­ley North-Easthope Fall Fair on September 12 be­fore the top three fi­nal­ists face off to be crowned Welles­ley Idols at the Welles­ley Ap­ple But­ter and Cheese Fes­ti­val.

To be el­i­gi­ble to par­tic­i­pate, youth must be be­tween 10 and 18 years of age and ei­ther live or have at­tended school in Wil­mot, Wool­wich, Welles­ley and Perth East town­ships.

This year’s semi-fi­nal­ists are Anas­ta­sia Bilodeau, Ari­anna Riedl, Chris­tian Econo­mides, Emily Sch­lueter, Eva Geimer, Maddy Kuehl and Tay­lor Kelly.

Anas­ta­sia Bilodeau, 15, says her first year com­pet­ing has been a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence thus far.

“I am from Welles­ley and I’ve seen a lot of peo­ple, the one win­ner went to my el­e­men­tary school and I took pi­ano lessons from her mom, and just see­ing every­one per­form on stage just re­ally made me want to do it. I was too shy when I was younger, but I thought now this is my year to try out and I did it and it is go­ing re­ally well so far,” she said. “I am ready for it.”

The teen, who is both an ath­lete and mu­si­cian, said she en­joys singing at Res­ur­rec­tion Catholic Sec­ondary events and fam­ily gath­er­ings.

Ari­anna Riedl, 13, says she has been prac­tic­ing steadily and is ex­cited to per­form in front of a crowd of her friends and fam­ily.

“We wanted to try some­thing new and see where it got. We went the year be­fore and didn’t do so well that time, so I thought I would come and try again,” Riedl said. “I know about half of my friends and fam­ily are com­ing so singing in front of them will be fun. I hope it goes well.”

Riedl has per­formed in Mary Pop­pins with the Com­mu­nity Play­ers of New

Ham­burg, at­tends weekly vo­cal lessons, and is en­rolled in the ju­nior mu­si­cal pro­gram with stage school as well as teen act­ing and dance.

Chris­tian Econo­mides, 13, has al­ways had an in­ter­est in mu­sic, play­ing drums, gui­tar and pi­ano. The Lin­wood Pub­lic School stu­dent per­forms with KW Glee and can be seen busk­ing at the St. Jacobs Farm­ers’ Mar­ket.

Emily Sch­lueter, 14, signed up to com­pete after one of her teach­ers en­cour­aged her to do so.

“I am ex­cited. I have got­ten some tips from my vo­cal in­struc­tor and have been prac­tic­ing lots,” she said.

Sch­lueter loves to draw, sing and has taken lessons for two years.

Eva Geimer, 12, is re­turn­ing for her sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year, she says she is look­ing for­ward to com­pet­ing in the semi-finals.

“I have just al­ways loved singing,” she said, not­ing that she has been singing for as long as she can remember.

The Grade 6, Conestogo Pub­lic School stu­dent is cur­rently a mem­ber of the non-com­pet­i­tive KW Glee Choir and en­joys both singing and play­ing pi­ano.

Maddy Kuehl, 16, a three year vet­eran in the com­pe­ti­tion says each year it gets more ex­cit­ing to per­form at the fair.

“It has been re­ally fun to get the ex­pe­ri­ence of per­form­ing and com­pet­ing against peo­ple,” she said.

Kuehl en­joys mu­si­cal the­atre and takes part in her school’s cheer­lead­ing.

Tay­lor Kelly, a past run­ner up in the com­pe­ti­tion, is back and hop­ing to take home the ti­tle.

“It has been re­ally good. It is a lot dif­fer­ent than last time, which was based only on how you sound. Now we are be­ing judged on other fac­tors like stage pres­ence, which I re­ally like,” she said.

Kelly is heav­ily in­volved in her St. David’s High School arts pro­gram. She has played vi­o­lin since she was 5 and has been in 12 terms of KW Glee.

The semi-fi­nal­ists mov­ing for­ward will have to pre­pare a to­tal of five songs, four ac­com­pa­nied and one a capella, and per­form in front of a panel of four judges.

With many fa­mil­iar faces present, the judges this year are Saibal Chakraburtty, Al­lis­ter Bradley, Tim Louis and J.P. Sunga.

“The judges that we have are fan­tas­tic,” said Wendy Richard­son one of the coor­ga­niz­ers.

When eval­u­at­ing, judges con­sider the kinds of qual­i­ties that en­ter­tain an au­di­ence, such as vo­cal qual­ity, fa­cial and body ex­pres­sion, en­gage­ment with the au­di­ence, song choice, per­son­al­ity, as well as tech­ni­cal strengths such as stage pres­ence and mi­cro­phone tech­nique.

While singers are com­pet­ing for their chance to be Welles­ley Idol, the ti­tle comes with cash re­turns as well, with first place in the com­pe­ti­tion re­ceiv­ing a $500 prize, sec­ond place $300, third place $200 and fi­nally a Peo­ple’s Choice win­ner – who can be among the top three or not – will take home $125.

In ad­di­tion to the ti­tle and cash prizes, the Welles­ley Idol win­ner is ex­pected to par­tic­i­pate in Welles­ley Christ­mas pa­rade and lead the singing at the tree of light af­ter­wards.

The semi-fi­nal­ists will take the stage at the Welles­ley North-Easthope Fall Fair be­fore the top three fi­nal­ists com­pete at the Welles­ley Ap­ple But­ter and Cheese Fes­ti­val on September 30.

[ALI WIL­SON / THE OB­SERVER]

Welles­ley Idol has an­nounced their top seven semi-fi­nal­ists, in­clud­ing Anas­ta­sia Bilodeau (left), Chris­tian Econo­mides (top right) and Ari­anna Riedl (bot­tom right).

[ALI WIL­SON / THE OB­SERVER]

The semi- fi­nal­ists will be per­form­ing at the fall fair on September 12, where the top three fi­nal­ists will be an­nounced. The group in­cludes, clock­wise from top left, Emily Sch­lueter, Eva Geimer, Tay­lor Kelly and Maddy Kuehl.

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