In Focus: Full House At Headwaters Music & Arts Second Annual Bemidji Sings Competition
It was a sold-out show last night at the second annual Bemidji Sings Competition. 14 singers from across the area competed for a chance to represent Bemidji at the Minnesota Sings competition in Woodbury next month.
“Part of the statewide mission of the vocal competition is to celebrate one’s home town. So we have so many things to be proud of about Bemidji. So why not showcase what we have to offer here, as well as to showcase these talented performers?” said Headwaters Music & Arts Executive Director Tricia Andrews.
During this year’s vocal event, there were two divisions. Division One had nine singers ages 15-25 and Division Two had five singers ages 26 and up. The oldest contestant on the show was 90-year-old Darolyn Erickson, who sang “God Bless America” and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
“She had her friends come, her family, and it seems like the whole town literally got excited about it. It was awesome,” said Annalise Aakhus, a voice, piano and guitar teacher at Headwaters Music and Arts.
One contestant, who won second place for Division Two, says she enjoyed her experience competing this year and she’s excited to represent Bemidji in the state competition.
“It was meeting everybody, and the MC did a good job on making everyone feel comfortable and having us all sing together, while the judges where deliberating and also warm-ups earlier in the day. Just the event and the way that it was run, it was really fun to be a part of,” April Aylesworth said.
First-place winners of the Bemidji Sings competition receive a $500 cash prize and a half-day recording session at Supple Studios. Second-place winners receive $100 cash prize and third-place winners receive $50.
“We had some good funding especially from the Region 2 Arts Council and Bemidji Area Arts Endowment, so that we were able to add to the stature and excitement of the event by putting a little meat into those prizes,” Andrews said.
“I thought it was a great opportunity to not only showcase the Bemidji artists, but then also give them a little extra bonus of having time to record,” Supple Studios Head Engineer and Owner Troy Foss said.
The Minnesota Sings competition takes place on September 28 and 29.