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Wellesley Idol gears up for another year highlighting local talent

Singer-songwriter Amy Rola was voted Wellesley Idol in 2013, after coming in second-place in 2012. [Will Sloan / The Observer]

Many aspiring singers have dreamed of following in the footsteps of Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, and, to a lesser extent, Justin Guarini. Few, however, relish the prospect of proving their mettle in front of Randy, Paula, Simon, or whoever is currently occupying their chairs.

Singer-songwriter Amy Rola was voted Wellesley Idol in 2013, after coming in second-place in 2012.[Will Sloan / The Observer]
Singer-songwriter Amy Rola was voted Wellesley Idol in 2013, after coming in second-place in 2012. [Will Sloan / The Observer]
But for the local teenage song-stylist, there is an option closer to home. The Wellesley ABC Idol competition is back for another round, and hoping to find the best and brightest teenage musicians in the rural townships.

Even if you don’t become the next Taylor Hicks, 2013 winner Amy Rola says there’s plenty to gain from the competition.

“I got a lot of really good feedback – not only the feedback they gave me, but what they said to the other contestants,” said Rola. “I took that and I used it to grow as a performer.”

Rola, a 16-year-old singer-songwriter and current member of KW Glee, believes the program offers a unique opportunity. “I don’t really get feedback like that often. At school, you’ve got math teachers, science teachers, but where’s the songwriting teacher?”

Last year was Rola’s second in the competition – she was the second-place finisher in 2012 after Gavin Tessier, coming just one spot ahead of her brother.

“The second time I went in by myself, so it’s different to not be with my brother. It’s a little less stress, because not only did I have to worry about being good, but I need to be better than my brother,” she said, comparing the two outings.

Tryouts take place June 1, 2:30 p.m. at the Wellesley Community Centre, with semi-finals at the Wellesley Fall Fair on September 9. After that, the cream of the crop will move on to the finals at the Wellesley Apple Butter and Cheese festival on September 27, and find out who will become Ruben Studdard to the other’s Clay Aiken.

“I hope they get some self-confidence to know that they’re good,” said organizer Wendy Richardson. “Even the ones who don’t go on to the next level, the judges put on a workshop giving them tips and comments to improve, and where their strengths are.”

In addition to self-confidence, lucky contestants could be in for prizes. First, second, and third-place winners receive $500, $300, and $200, and a People’s Choice winner (voted at the Wellesley Fall Fair) will take $125.

When asked for advice for the next generation of Wellesley Idols, Rola says it’s a matter of practice, and stage presence.

“Keep the audience interested in what you’re doing. … It’s nice to look out to your audience, smile, move around, even do some dance moves, dance along with the song.”

Wellesley Idol is open to youth aged 10-18 who live and/or attend school in Wellesley, Woolwich, Wilmot, or Perth East. To register, contact Wendy Richardson (519-656-2961, wrichardson@cwisp.ca), Kathy Glasser (226-241-9070, k.glasser@hotmail.com) or Chris Bender (519-656-2034, fbender@sympatico.ca). The program is limited to 16 contestants.

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