The search for the next rising star is now underway, with the Wellesley Idol competition gearing up for 2021. Where last year’s contest met some bumps in the road switching to a digital format due to the pandemic, organizers expect it will be smoother sailing this time around.
After some deliberation about the format, organizers decided the show must go on, in keeping with the program’s formerly unwritten mission statement, which has now been formally adopted:
“Our mission is to celebrate the joy of music among our community’s youth; help young singers develop confidence, determination, and resilience; provide friendly, positive feedback from experienced music industry professionals; nurture the development of young singers with aspirations of building larger audiences through scholarships and mentoring.”
For Allister Bradley, who has been a mentor for the program for the last five years, putting it in words just made sense.
“There’s something profound about the experience of taking what I’ve learned over years of living and making music and using that to help somebody progress a little faster than making their own mistakes. I know it’s cliché to say it that way, but it’s [about] giving back. That is very rewarding. And, I know I speak on behalf of my fellow mentors… because I know that’s the reason that we have very low turnover rates.”
Other mentors/judges for the 2021 edition include Tim Louis, JP Sunga, John Bailey, with Joni NehRita joining the group.
“She’s been a professional musician for, I think decades is fair to say, and she’s had all sorts of success regionally and even some success nationally,” he said of NehRita. “She knows her stuff when it comes to being a music industry professional. Further to that, she has plenty of experience being a mentor on programs like The Shot in Kitchener and with festivals that have interactive workshops and mentoring.”
Wellesley Idol’s rules follow previous iterations of the competition/coaching series: panelists will pick six to eight individuals between the ages of 10-18 to move through the program.
“We’re excited to welcome young singers, whether they sing for fun or for the church congregation or to an audience from the stage. We want to welcome anybody into the program who would like to… go a little further with their singing career, to let us help them a little bit.”
This year’s event includes cash prizes for the top three finishers – $500, $300 and $200 – donated by the Wellesley Apple Butter and Cheese festival, which sponsors the competition. Last year saw New Hamburg’s Chiara Heard take home the title, followed by Conestogo’s Mitch Roemer in second place and Elmira’s Cassandra Dammeier in third.
Every year the final competition runs alongside the Wellesley Fall Fair, and this year is no exception, with the big event running in conjunction with the autumn event scheduled for September 25 and streamed live on the Wellesley Idol Facebook page.
All are encouraged to audition, with the registration deadline for this year’s season being June 27, and more information on the competition can be found online.