Who will be named Nelson's Best Singer?

Vern Gorham is the host/organizer of the Nelson Best Singer contest. - Sam Van Schie photo
Vern Gorham is the host/organizer of the Nelson Best Singer contest.
— image credit: Sam Van Schie photo

The final night of the Nelson's Best Singer contest is this Thursday at the Capitol.

Sixteen singers who advanced through the qualifying round of competition at LV Rogers secondary school before Christmas will now hope to sing their way through two more rounds of judging, both happening the same night, for a chance at the title and opportunity to advance to the Kootenay finals.

The way the night will go is all 16 singers will be scored on their performance of one song. The five best will sing again, then winners will be announced. The top two singers go to Kootenay finals.

Organizer Vern Gorham said he was blown away by the talent on display in the qualifying round.

"This is a fantastically talented community. I could hardly believe the voice on some of those young singers," Gorham said.

Three quarters of the Nelson qualifiers are in their teens and many are current or past members of Corazón youth choir.

Gorham also noted the wide range of musical styles.

"There's everything from classic rock and pop songs to Broadway tunes," he said. "For the audience who comes out to watch this competition, I would say there will definitely be something that appeals to everyone."

This is Gorham's second time organizing the event in Nelson. Last year the title of best singer went to Tessa Van der Holt, who went on to tie for fifth place in the Kootenay finals.

He said the judging is always a difficult thing in singing competitions because musical tastes are so subjective. However, there is a criteria the singers are judged on: their score out of 10 is weighted with eight points singing quality, one point for stage presence, and one point for audience response.

"One point can make a big difference," he said. "Last year in Nelson there was a one-tenth of one-point difference between the second and third place singer — which is the difference between going to the Kootenay Finals or not."

For that reason, he encourages singers to bring their supporters to help them earn the crowd points.

The judges will be people from out of town, to avoid any perception of bias. Gorham will host the show and says he's glad he has nothing to do with the judging.

"I don't envy their position," he said. "It's hard to pick between so many talented singers."

Nelson's Best Singer is Thursday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre. Tickets are $10 at the door or in advance through the Capitol Theatre Box Office. Senior, children and student tickets are $8, when purchased in advance.

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