Last updated: July 18. 2013 6:43PM - 544 Views
Donald Kaul
Creators Syndicate

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Contestants for Big Sandy Idol were recognized this week as this year’s competition came to a close.

Big Sandy Idol 2012 was held at the Mountain Arts Center March 9 and 10. Big Sandy Idol, presented and organized by the Music Department of Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) in partnership with the Mountain Arts Center and sponsored by Primary and Premiere Sponsor Gearheart Communications, with Gold Sponsor Jennifer Reynolds State Farm Insurance in Pikeville, is a talent and scholarship competition that offers two winners from each of the 15 high schools in Pike, Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin, and Martin Counties, a chance to compete for a demo CD recording, a full-album recording, a cash award, trophy, a full-paid vocal scholarship to attend BSCTC, along with a spot with the Big Sandy Singers who are directed by Laura Ford Hall. The Big Sandy Idol Program is directed by Idol Director Clayton Case of Betsy Layne.

Throughout the year, BSCTC Music Dept Staff including Idol Director Case, along with BSCTC Technical Director and Producer and Timothy Cooley, with assistance from Music Director Hall, work to organize auditions and local-level competitions in each of the 15 high schools in the 5-county region. Two winners from each school are chosen and compete in the regional competition (held March 9 & 10) to vie for the ultimate title of Big Sandy Idol Champion.

The Semi-Final round of competition was held on Friday night, March 9. The show featured the Runners-Up (2nd place winners) from each school. The Grand Championship Finals were held on Saturday night, March 10 and featured each High School Winner (1st place winner from each high school). Each high school in the 5-county area was featured both nights, as well as a home schooled and private schooled category.

Kaitlyn Good, a junior at Pikeville High School in was named the Big Sandy Idol Grand Champion by singing her version of Whitney Houston’s song “I Have Nothing.”

As a special treat, The Big Sandy Singers performed each night and wowed the crowd with songs their songs including an a-capella number originally by Billy Joel called “For the Longest Time,” and Billy Ray Cyrus’ hit “Some Gave All/God Bless America Medley.” As a special part of the show called “Idol Gives Back,” over 100 BSCTC music students, ranging in ages 6 through senior citizens came together to sing a song by the Crabb Family called “Lend a Hand” while a love offering was taken up for the victims of the tornado in eastern Ky. Over $6,000 was raised and will be distributed by the Big Sandy Community Educational Foundation, under the direction of BSCTC President Dr. George Edwards.

On Friday night, the Wildcard Winner was named as Clarke Sexton. Sexton went on to get to perform again on Sat. night in the Finals with the other 1st place contestants. On this night, the 2011 Wildcard Winner, Marlana VanHoose performed for the audience. Shaina Hunt-Cercone , 2011 Grand Champion performed for the crowd. Videos of the show and the Singer’s albums can be purchased at www.bigsandysingers.com.

Each of the Big Sandy Idol singers are featured on the 2012 Big Sandy Idol Compilation Album produced at Big Sandy Productions Studio, with Producer and Technical Director Timothy Cooley, the 2-disc compilation features all 30 of the Big Sandy Idol finalists from each high school in eastern Kentucky. This album can also be purchased at www.bigsandysingers.com, along with the Big Sandy Singers CDs.

“We congratulate every student involved. They all did a wonderful job,” said Hall. “And we thank our administration, President Dr. George Edwards and Provost Dr. Nancy Johnson for their support of this program. We also thank one of BSCTC’s Vice Presidents, Bobby McCool for greatly supporting our program.”

“We are very proud of all of the participants and happy for all of the winners,” Case added. “This was a great group to work with and I am proud to be a part of a program like Big Sandy Idol. I hope we can continue to touch and encourage high school students through music, and encourage high schools to add choral music programming.”

Kaitlyn Good, the ‘12 Big Sandy Idol Grand Champion received a full-paid scholarship to Big Sandy Community & Technical College (upon graduating from high school), an automatic spot with The Big Sandy Singers, a $300 cash prize provided by the BSCTC Music Club, a solo album recording of her own, a trophy and certificate, and is also featured on the CD and DVD.

Summer Pugh, from East Ridge High School was named the 1st Runner Up and received a $100 cash prize and trophy. Because Good was not a senior in high school, an award is given to the highest scoring senior, so that a student from the Idol program will have an immediate opportunity to attend college on a vocal scholarship this year. Pugh received a $2,250 scholarship with an automatic spot in the Big Sandy Singers.

Emily Ward was the 2nd Runner Up and received a trophy & and s scholarship to BSCTS’ Teen Summer Vocal Camp. The Third Runner-Up was Tierra Fonner from Phelps High School who received the opportunity to be awarded a trophy & a scholarship to the summer teen vocal camp as well. And, LaShell Swigger from Magoffin Co. High School was named the Essay Winner, and won this award for completing a meaningful essay about the Big Sandy Idol program and received a trophy and $100 cash prize.

“We are proud of every single student who participated, not only in the finals, but also at their schools,” Case added. “We hope this was a fun and amazing memory that they will have and that it will encourage students to take the opportunity to get a higher education whether they sang in our program or not. We worked with some very special kids this year and we are very proud of them.”

If you were unable to come to the Big Sandy Idol competition, you can watch the championship round on WYMT TV on Sat., April 7 from 8-10 p.m., and later on Gearheart Communications’ WPRG, Channel 5; those date will soon be announced. You can also purchase a 2012 Big Sandy Idol DVD, CD, or Big Sandy Singers CDs at www.bigsandysingers.com.

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