Headwaters Music & Arts celebrated the musical talents of local amateur vocalists on August 6 with their virtual Bemidji SIngs! Vocal competition. This year was the 3rd annual Bemidji Sings! event which is usually a live, ticketed, show. In 2019 Bemidji Sings! sold out seats at Bemidji Sate Universitiy’s Bangsburg Hall. However, due to Covid-19 concerns the whole event and auditions were moved online. This event is made possible through the support of their local sponsors, including Paul Bunyan Communications, Dandelion Vault, Dean Bentler Cabinets & Woodworking, Lakes Liquor, Team Industries, Green Mill Restaurant, Norbord, Ottertail Power, We Love Messes, Just Dandy, Keg N Cork, and Supple Studios, as well as Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos and the Minnesota State Arts Board.
This year, vocalists were asked to record and submit a video of themselves singing. Submissions were compiled into a virtual show, hosted and produced by David Eichholz of Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos. The video went live on YouTube, 7pm August 6. Finalists included Helen Bartlett, Traci Djonne Schank, Heidi Fladeboe, Donna Gaston, Kari Grace, Maya Lindquist, Nessa Peters, Aspen Tobin, Doyle Turner, Andrew Hokanson, and Charlotte Saxton. Winners were chosen based on vocal skill, presentation, and the judge's overall impression in two divisions - ages 13-20 and ages 21 plus. Judges this year were Zaq Swank of St. Cloud and LouAnn Dierkhising of Park Rapids.
Third place prize in each age category is $50, second place is $100, and first place is $500 plus recording time at Supple Studios. The first and second place winner in each category is also eligible to compete at the state-wide Minnesota Sings competition in September. This year Bemidji’s event also introduced a People’s Choice Award, inviting viewers to vote for their personal favorite performance of the night.
The winners of the 13-20 division were: Charlotte Saxton, 1st Place Champion; Andrew Hokanson, 2nd Place Runner Up; Maya Lindquist, 3rd Place Alternate. The winners of the 21+ division were: Heidi Fladeboe, 1st Place Champion; Doyle Turner, 2nd Place Runner Up; Kari Grace, 3rd Place Alternate. The People’s Choice Award went to Maya Lindquist.
Headwaters Music & Arts, an independent non-profit organization in downtown Bemidji, offers music lessons to youth and adults as well as art and pottery classes for adults and children throughout the day and evening. Funds raised during Bemidji Sings! support HMA’s financial assistance program.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.