Jun 8, 2018 | By: Shirelle Moore

In Focus: Headwaters Music & Arts Hosts 1st Ever “Bemidji Sings” Competition

The first ever “Bemidji Sings” hit a high note with audiences this week. 12 people between the ages of 15 to 25 entered the competition. The winner and 1st runner-up will go on to compete in the “Minnesota Sings” state competition.

“Bottom line is, we just want to give young vocalists a chance to really showcase their talents, and there’s so much talent across the state. I’m just amazed every time I hear these young singers. It’s unbelievable,” says Chuck Spavin, lead volunteer for Minnesota Sings.

“I’ve been saying all day, ‘I’m so excited! I’m so excited that it’s happening!’ And then to see those young people step onto the stage in front of an audience, that – yay! We had an audience of supporters, that was exciting, too,” says Tricia Andrews, executive director of Headwaters Music & Arts.

All of the contestants showed promise, but in the end, Susannah Roed was crowned the Bemidji Sings winner. Andrew Hokanson was named the 1st runner-up.

Zachary Swank, one of the Bemidji Sings judges, says, “It was difficult as a judge. We knew pretty early on who the winner was. She completely blew us away, but coming up with the runner-up and the alternate, there were a lot of really good people.”

Roed says about her win, “Everyone was so talented. I didn’t even expect to make finals so it was incredible and very memorable.”

Hokanson says about his performance, “Once you’re out on the stage, everything just kind of shuts down and you almost become the character that you’re performing, so I kind of don’t really remember a lot of what I actually did out there, but I know that I had a really fun time doing it.”

The state competition will be held in Woodbury on September 29th and 30th. That gives Roed and Hokanson a few months to warm up their vocal chords.

Hokanson says, “I’m unbelievably excited and really proud to represent Bemidji in front of the entire state! It’s a dream come true, honestly, and I can’t wait to do it!”

Roed says about her next moves, “To be honest, I haven’t really thought a lot about what would happen if I actually won, so [I’ll] just practice and talk to the other people that are in it and just do the best I can, I guess!”

For winning the local competition, Roed received $300 and a gas card to help her get to Woodbury in September. Hokanson received $150 and also a gas card to help him get to the state completion. Both Roed and Hokanson will also join Mayor Rita Albrect for a send-off breakfast at Beltrami County History Center. To learn more about the Minnesota Sings state completion, click here.

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