Creston's Best Singer winner Victoria Bowns (left) and second-place winner Ben Lansing will compete in the Kootenays' Best Singer contest in Cranbrook on June 1.

Creston's Best Singer winner Victoria Bowns (left) and second-place winner Ben Lansing will compete in the Kootenays' Best Singer contest in Cranbrook on June 1.

Creston singers to compete in Kootenays’ Best Singer finals in Cranbrook

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The Kootenays’ Best Singer contest finals are coming up on June 1 in Cranbrook, as the final local contest in Cranbrook wrapped up on May 20. There will be 14 singers in the finals representing the communities of Grand Forks, Castlegar, Nelson, Creston, Fernie, Kimberley and Cranbrook.

Contest producer Vern Gorham is very impressed with this year’s group of talented singers from each community.

“Judging is the most difficult part of the contest, and with the high level of the local best singer champions from each community, I do not envy the job that the judges will have to try to determine who will win the crown of 2013 Kootenays’ Best Singer champion,” said Gorham.

This year’s Kootenays’ Best Singer contest season started in August in Grand Forks with Missy Faulkner placing first, followed by her older sister, Wendy Faulkner, finishing second. That was followed up with Nelson in which Gabe MacDonald won, followed closely behind by Charlie Pears Smith.

In 2013, Creston produced Victoria Bowns and Ben Lansing as its two finalists, Kimberley saw Devin Fikis and Kathleen Decosse advance, Fernie’s top two singers were Maria Landa and Claire Bernier, Castlegar had Mateo Villa and Kelsea Dorosz move on, and Cranbrook’s best singer was Tyrel Hawke, with Jamie Byram finishing second.

The youngest singer in the group is 11-year-old Bernier from Fernie. Bernier is also the youngest singer to advance to the Kootenay finals in the two years of the contest, eclipsing Fikis who advanced in 2012 as a 14-year-old, but who is coming back again this year from Kimberley, one year older and wiser.

“A number of the best singers from each community were relatively young this year, but are immensely talented,” said Gorham. “I am amazed that someone as young as Claire, and even Devin Fikis, who is now a veteran of both Kootenay championships at the ripe old age of 15 years old, can sing with such strength and power!”

From the crop of singers that participated in the first annual Kootenays’ Best Singer championship last season, only Fikis is a returning singer, as most of last year’s singers who advanced were not able to advance through their local contests this year, or were unable to compete because of other obligations.

The Kootenays’ Best Singer contest runs at 7 p.m. June 1 at the Cranbrook Alliance Church (1200 Kootenay St. N.), which Gorham said is the most amazing singing venue in the Kootenays.

Advance ticket prices are $5 for seniors, children and students, and $8 for adults, and can be reserved by those who live outside of Cranbrook by contacting Gorham (verngorham@telus.net or phone 250-428-0305) and paying at the door. Tickets at the door are $10 for everyone, except children who are $5.

For more information, visit www.kootenaysbestsinger.com or like its page, “Kootenays’ Best Singer Contest”, on Facebook to stay updated on the contest throughout the year.

—KOOTENAYS’ BEST SINGER