The fourth annual Creston’s Best Singer contest returns next month, and will be bigger than before.
The 2013 edition will be comprised of four nights, expanded from two (quarterfinal and semifinal/final) in 2011 and 2012, starting with a youth division contest on Dec. 4 at the Prince Charles Theatre.
“I had 10 or 15 parents say, ‘My child would love to sing in your contest but doesn’t want to compete with 40-year-olds,’ ” said producer-host Vern Gorham.
The youth contest will be open to singers 14 and under, and the top two will advance to the semifinal round on Feb. 14, competing against the top 20 adults singers from the Jan. 31 quarterfinal. The top 10 from the semifinal will compete in the final round on March 7.
It’s all part of a bigger plan — the top two from the Creston finals will compete in the Kootenays’ Best Singer contest in June against winners from other east and west Kootenay communities. This year, Creston’s Matt Hansen placed second and the Jesse Dumas-Jairus Stonehouse duo placed third in the region — just below Cranbrook’s Trena Speers — after competing against winners from Kimberley, Trail, Nelson, Grand Forks and Rossland.
“We laid a very positive groundwork for every one of those communities,” said Gorham. “It’s exciting to see where it’s going to go. I think we’ll have many more singers coming out and many more watching.”
As usual, audience voting will play a big part in the contest. On Jan. 31, 30 singers will compete, and the audience will whittle those down to 20 to compete on Feb. 14. Audience voting will then narrow those down to 10, who will compete by singing two songs for out-of-town judges in March.
The addition of the third night and a greater length of time between nights for the adult category mean that singers will have more opportunity to prove their talent.
“It will give a chance for people to work on songs,” said Gorham. “Potentially, a singer could sing four times.”
Creston isn’t the only place the contest is expanding. In the West Kootenay, some of the contests are also adding a night, with audiences voting at an audition night hosted by a school in each community.
“They’ll handle my auditions for me and use it as a fundraiser,” said Gorham.
If it sounds like a lot to organize, it is — but it’s all worth it in the end, particularly when it’s time for the regional competition.
“We have tremendous talent in Creston and the Kootenays,” Gorham said. “There’s talent that should be showcased and shared. It makes for a really fun night to hear local singers of a high quality.”
For more information, contact Vern Gorham at 250-428-0305 or visit www.kootenaysbestsinger.com.