In the spirit of “American Idol,” Greenville Symphony Orchestra will for the fourth year hold a Rising Stars competition to showcase local and area singing talent and offer contenders an opportunity to jump-start a singing career.
Susan Morrill, member of the Symphony Society board of directors, chairs the event. The idea came from one of her friends who lives in the Berkshire area of Massachusetts and successfully organizes a similar event for charitable causes.
“For more than 25 years, GSO has promoted music appreciation and education through the annual youth concerts and scholarships,” Morrill said. “We believe there is great local vocal talent and are happy to now highlight that talent and promote our community pride.”
The contest is offered to solo singers in three age categories: 10 to 15 years; 16 to 25 years; and 26 years and older. Each age category is limited to 100 initial entrants.
All three rounds of competition take place in William A. Passavant Center on the campus of Thiel College in Greenville. The contest is conducted in a process comparable to the television reality show, “American Idol” and is a vocal competition only.
The first audition, or elimination round, includes a 30-second a cappella piece of the singer’s choice and takes place at 7 p.m. Feb. 22 and 10 a.m. Feb. 23, after which 12 successful vocalists in each age category will be given the chance to move on to the semi-final round.
The semi-final performance, which is open to the public, takes place at 7:30 p.m. March 23. Six top vocalists from each age category will continue to the finals, another public event at 7:30 p.m. April 13, where a winner will be declared in each age category.
Winners will be determined by audience vote and a panel of celebrity judges.
Emcee for the semi-finals is Stuart Steinberg and for the finals is radio personality Ron Errett.
Winners receive cash or a savings bond, one hour of sound studio time to produce a vocal compact disc, an invitation to sing with the GSO during one of its concerts, four tickets to Kennywood Amusement Park, Pittsburgh, and the opportunity to sing on the Kennywood stage this summer.
“We wanted to have a fundraising event with a musical flair and this is just perfect,” said Vicki Poe, member of the planning committee and Symphony Society board. “The community should be excited about it.”
Applications are welcome from any interested individual within the age categories. Information has been distributed within a 60-mile radius of Greenville.
An entry form and rules for the contest are also available online through the GSO’s website: www.thegreenvillesymphony.org. Click on “fundraising events.”
Entry forms are to be mailed to Carolyn McCright, GSO Rising Stars registrar, Greenville Symphony Society Inc., 65 St. Glory Road, Greenville 16125. She may be reached at 724-588-5227 with any questions.
Spots are limited so interested vocalists are encouraged to pre-register by Feb. 15. Competitors may be accepted at the door on Feb. 22 and 23 but only if space is available and at a slightly higher registration fee.
Because this is a fundraiser for the GSO, there is a nominal registration fee for contestants and a small admittance fee for the audience on the nights of the semi-finals and finals.
Details: Morrill at 724-815-5578 or GSO board President Judy Eckler, 724-588-6164.