Six young artists have been selected for this year’s Wellesley Idol competition. Coming from across the rural Waterloo Region, those chosen will be testing their skill and resolve and straining their vocal chords in a series of concerts, starting with the semi-finals at the Wellesley Fall Fair on September 10.
The youth saw their first bit of action on May 26 at the Idol tryouts, where 12 hopefuls were narrowed down to six contestants. The fair will see the number of competitors cut by half again in time for the final contest at the Apple Butter and Cheese Festival on September 28.
“I’m very excited to hear a little more of what they can do,” said Idol mentor Allister Bradley. “We only get a chance to hear two songs at the open tryouts. But it was enough for us to imagine them being on a stage in front of the ABC crowd.”
First up is Baden’s 15-year-old Arianna Riedl. A student at Eastwood Collegiate Institute, Riedl is channeling her twin passions for drama and music at this year’s competitions. Though young, she is no stranger to performing in front of large crowds, having sung at events as the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest and at the Canadian Model and Talent Convention in Toronto.
Joining Riedl from Wilmot Township is Eden Klassen. Klassen has been writing music since she was eight-years-old. Wowing judges at the open tryouts in May, the rapper and singer/songwriter punched her ticket for a chance to perform at this year’s fall festival.
Sixteen-year-old Hadley Mustakas of West Montrose has a bit of a dramatic flair, she’s been told, and it’s a quality she’s put to good use. Coming from a family of thespians and performers, Mustakas has certainly become a prominent performer in her own right. She’s been on stage at Drayton Entertainment, taken leading roles in high school and community theatre, performed with the KW Glee and, in her spare moments, finds time to read, write, sing, dance and hone her craft.
With a sax in hand, a piano at her fingertips, or a guitar cradled in her arms, Jordan Vogt can jam and create music with the best of them. The 15-year-old out of Linwood is the consummate young musician, with a gifted singing voice that she has lent freely, be it with her church through choir, or with her friends around the campfire. Between music and school, Vogt finds enjoyment in her down time through horseback riding and biking.
At just 12 years of age, Jorja Smith is the youngest contestant in this year’s Idol competition. But don’t let the age fool you: the Baden resident has developed a passion for music which developed from a young age. Already, she has recorded music as part of a group of performers for the children’s songbook Earth Anthems. She’s also a member of the KW Pop Rock Choir, and this summer has a gig performing with the band 8 Second Ride. She diligently studies her art at the Renaissance School of Music, but also finds time for soccer, swimming and dancing.
Completing the list of competitors is 16-year-old Phoenix Case from Elmira. A veritable polymath, with interests ranging from singing and playing the guitar, to her involvement with the EDSS robotics team. Case can weld a robot together as easily as she can strum out a few chords on her instrument, and rounds out her technical and artistic aspects with her love of soccer and volleyball.
Mentoring and evaluating the six this year alongside Bradley, will be Amy Rola, John “Beetle” Bailey, JP Sunga and Tim Louis.