Young singers now warm­ing up as Welles­ley Idol holds try­outs later this month

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - VERON­ICA REINER

YOUNG AND IN POS­SES­SION of a good set of pipes? Live in the area? You might be in line to be­come the next Welles­ley Idol win­ner.

Try­outs are be­ing held for the 13th an­nual com­pe­ti­tion on May 27 at 1 p.m. at the Welles­ley Com­mu­nity Cen­tre to show­case lo­cal tal­ent in the area. The first, sec­ond and third place winners will re­ceive prize money for their ef­forts. A cash prize of $500 will be given to the first-place win­ner, $300 to the sec­ond and $200 for the third. There’s also a $125 prize for the Peo­ple’s Choice Award.

Con­tes­tants must be ages 10-18 and live and/or at­tend school in the ar­eas of Wool­wich, Welles­ley, Wil­mot and Perth East town­ships. There is an ad­mit­tance charge of $5 per adult, $2 per youth and $10 per fam­ily. All of the money stays within the Idol pro­gram.

Par­tic­i­pants are eval­u­ated by a panel of judges who give con­struc­tive feed­back based on their per­for­mance. One of these judges is Allister Bradley, a mu­si­cal artist.

“At its essence, it looks a lot like the Idol tele­vi­sion shows that we’ve come to know and love and hate. There’s a panel of judges that will com­ment af­ter a per­for­mance,” said Bradley. “But there’s no Si­mon Cow­ell at the table. We’re all very friendly and help­ful. We don’t want to hurt any­body’s feel­ings.”

While they are all con­struc­tive crit­ics, there are spe­cific fea­tures of per­for­mance that they watch out for.

“I look for per­form­ers that have an im­pact on an au­di­ence,” he said. “That’s what I got in my head, is imag­in­ing an au­di­ence re­ac­tion to the singer.”

“It opens doors for them in the com­mu­nity, too,” added event or­ga­nizer Wendy Richard­son. “Be­cause we get re­quests from the Lions Club and the Christ­mas Tyme Pa­rade for them to sing. So they get a bit of no­tice­abil­ity.”

They are ac­cept­ing reg-

is­tra­tions un­til May 20 at 7 p.m. The com­pe­ti­tion is di­vided into three parts: first the try­outs, then the semi­fi­nals on Septem­ber 11 at the Welles­ley Fall Fair, and the fi­nals on Septem­ber 29 at the Welles­ley Ap­ple But­ter and Cheese Fes­ti­val.

There has been a wait­ing list for the past cou­ple of years, says Richard­son.

“We usu­ally cut off the num­ber of par­tic­i­pants in the com­pe­ti­tion at 20,” she added. “Those on the wait­ing list, I let them know first when we have a date for the fol­low­ing year.”

Try­outs are a bit of a process, she ex­plains..

“For the try­outs, they have to do an a cap­pella song, and that’s only two min­utes long, and they have to do one with ac­com­pa­nied mu­sic, which is about three min­utes long,” said Richard­son. “Then they sub­mit the mu­sic to our sound man Johnny Sauder. They get nar­rowed down to six to eight peo­ple. I think it re­ally shows the tal­ent that we have in this area. We have a lot from Elmira area as well. St. Clements is a real hub for singing tal­ent. We get a lot from there, and they go far.”

The event can be very tax­ing to per­form­ers.

“It’s not sup­posed to be stress­ful, although it’s al­ways go­ing to be singing in front of a crowd and singing in front of the judges,” added Bradley.

“I think the most use­ful thing to know is that it’s not just a singing con­test for prizes. We very much look at this as a men­tor­ship op­por­tu­nity, as both a celebration of the joy of mak­ing mu­sic and an op­por­tu­nity for us to help young singers re­ally get an un­der­stand­ing of what the road might look like if they de­cided they wanted to pur­sue this pro­fes­sion­ally,” said Bradley. “But that’s not a con­di­tion of what we do. It’s not just for any­body who wants to be pro­fes­sional, it’s for any­body who just loves the joy of mu­sic.”

Last years’ win­ner was Anas­ta­sia Bilodeau from Welles­ley. She con­tin­ues to work with Bradley to fur­ther pur­sue her mu­si­cal ca­reer.

“It’s weekly lessons. But we cover ev­ery­thing from song­writ­ing, to learn­ing gui­tar, and we even­tu­ally get into record­ing,” he said. “We’re hit­ting ev­ery­thing, we’re do­ing mu­sic the­ory, plus we’re do­ing lyric writ­ing, and I’m in­cor­po­rat­ing that into her gui­tar lessons as well. I’m not teach­ing her gui­tar, but I’m help­ing her tie it all to­gether.”

They are also look­ing for vol­un­teers to shadow at this years’ event. Any­one in­ter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing or vol­un­teer­ing can con­tact Chris at 519-656-2034 or Wendy at 519-656-2961.

2017 Welles­ley Idol Anas­ta­sia Bilodeau.

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