Who will be Frederick's next Shining Star?'
Forget Fox Frederick Idol is heating up the stage
Saturday night brought out a host of local, talented singers who filled the halls of the Bernard W. Brown Community Center in Frederick with their voices and, occasionally, guitars.
"This is such a great opportunity," said singer Scarlet Fannin of Frederick, as she sat surrounded by fellow contestants.
The 14 participants are part of the first-ever Frederick Idol, a juried showcase of local talent. The event, which culminates with an Oct. 24 grand finale at Frederick Community College, benefits CALM Frederick County Community Mediation and Conflict Resolution Center.
That finale, named Frederick's Shining Star, will showcase a dazzling array of costumed, talented performers entertaining both audience and judges all of whom will vote for one talented individual to be crowned Frederick's "Idol."
The idea for the musical competition came to CALM's Executive Director Kate Palmisano when she attended a similar event in Anne Arundel County last spring.
"I thought it would be cool and a very different thing to do," Palmisano said. She and her staff decided to spread the word through the community and see what kind of response they got.
Ultimately, almost 20 hopefuls showed up to audition.
"We were surprised and pleased by the response," Palmisano said. "We hope to get even more next year when more people hear about it."
During initial auditions held in September, judges pared down the number of contestants to 16, 14 of whom attended Saturday's semi-finals. By the time the evening was over, 12 singers had moved forward to the grand finale.
With a mix of men and women of varying age, the "Idol" competition attracted a wide array of musical styles from opera to country to rock.
"I've been very impressed. There's a nice mix of contestants and lots of different types of music," said Fannin, who performed Linda Ronstadt's "Blue Bayou."
Other performances included Harold Powell, whose rendition of Michael Bublee's "Fever" delighted the audience of family and peers and the judges, who laughed along with his antics.
Luke Moorman, 17, a Linganore High School student, performed a solo from the Broadway musical "Les Miserables." He said he entered the Idol competition because, "Why not? I've been singing my whole life."
According to Palmisano, the competition's grand prize consists of eight hours of recording studio time, a makeover from a local beauty school, a photo shoot and additional surprises.
The Frederick Idol finale will also feature a silent auction of items donated by various CALM volunteers, she said.
"Our budget's been cut, so this is a great way to make up some of that shortfall and provide a service to the community," Palmisano said. The nonprofit organization provides free mediation, peer mentoring and anger management classes to people of all ages in the community.
At the semi-finals, contestants nervously waited in the wings, dressed to the hilt and cheered on by family and friends.
A panel of judges composed of area music professionals Tomy Wright, Denise Brooks-Cutts, Connie Guy, Fran Tucker and Rick Hill, offered constructive criticism to each contestant, including taking breaths in the right places, or choosing music to better showcase their talents. With no harsh Simon Cowells on board, contestants took the advice in stride, singing louder than their guitars and putting their own pitch and spin on songs.
The Oct. 24 finale should be a great experience for all, Palmisano said. There, semi-finalists will arrive with two prepared songs. After performing the first, judges will select three finalists to move on to their second song. The audience will then vote on a winner to be crowned Frederick Idol's Shining Star.
Moving on to the Oct. 24 finale will be singers Julia Banks, Willie Barry, Liz Corsa, Scarlet Fannin, Stephanie Hernandez, Kenise Lewis, Luke Moorman, Chelsea Phebus, Harold Powell, Brittany Pratt, Wally Worsley and Ashlee Smith.
"It's just amazing what talent is right here in Frederick," Palmisano said.
Frederick Idol's Shining Star
When: 5-8 p.m. Oct. 24
Where: Jack B. Kussmaul Theater, 7932 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick
For information: 301-631-2256