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Start warming up your voice, as Wellesley Idol set to begin again

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It’s that time of year again: youth living in, or attending school in Wellesley, Woolwich and surrounding townships are invited to take a stab at becoming a Wellesley Idol.

A local tradition for more than a decade, Wellesley Idol is a talent competition that allows local youth ages 10-18 to share their singing voice with a live audience. Their performance will be evaluated by a panel of judges, with the winner walking away with $500.

“The Wellesley Idol judges are very supportive and love to encourage all of the contestants,” said Wendy Smith, a member of the organizing committee. “We have an enormous amount of young talent in our area, and this event allows our youth to showcase that talent.  If you love music and want to support the youth in our community, please come and cheer on the contestants.”

John “Beetle” Bailey, Tim Louis, JP Sunga, Amy Rola, and Allister Bradley is the panel evaluating prospective singers this year – all were judges in the 2018 competition. Vocal quality, facial and body expression, engagement with the audience, song choice, personality, and technical strengths (for example stage presence and microphone technique) are factors the judges take into account when considering the overall ranking of performance.

“Ideally, we’re looking for somebody who can entertain,” said Bradley. “So that when they sing … other people want to sing along with them. It’s not exclusively for people who want to become professional singers. Anyone who enjoys singing will be welcome, and hopefully, have a lot of fun.”

They also act as mentors throughout the program, helping each performer celebrate their strengths, identifying areas for improvements, and tips for how to prepare for the big competition dates.

“We are a terribly friendly bunch,” added Bradley. “All of our mentors are incredibly friendly and helpful and we genuinely just want to help people understand how they could better entertain a crowd.”

Those interested should act fast, as the application deadline closes May 19. The first 20 applicants will be accepted, on a first-come, first-served basis. Tryouts begin May 26 at the Wellesley Community Centre, with a small admittance charge of $5 per adult, $2 for youth or $10 for the family. The funds stay within the Idol program.

“Come prepared with one a capella approximately two minutes and one accompanied approximately three minutes long – but most importantly, have fun,” said Smith, on tips for that first round tryout.

After these initial tryouts, the semi-final round will take place at the Wellesley North Easthope Fall Fair on September 10. The final round is scheduled for the Apple Butter and Cheese Festival on September 28.

A first-, second- and third-place winner is decided in the final round, along with a people’s choice award. The first-place winner gets $500, along with Second-place winner receives $300, while the third-place wins $200.

The winner is expected to put on additional performances, including participating in the Wellesley Christmas Tyme parade and lead the singing at the Tree of Light ceremony and perform at the 2020 Wellesley Fall Fair and ABC Festival. Previous winners have opted to further pursue musical career opportunities with the judges, in everything from lyric writing to song recording.

A new addition for the 2019 competition is an entirely new organizing committee consisting of Smith, Marla Schultz, Holley Cressman, and Bradley. The program has a new website up and running at www.wellesleyidol.org.

Anyone who lives or goes to school in Wellesley, Woolwich, Wilmot and Perth East townships, between ages 10-18 (must be at least 10 by June 1 and no older than 18 by September 28) is eligible to sign up for the competition. Those interested can do so by emailing info@wellesleyidol.org or calling Bradley at 519-241-1603

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