Vern Gorham is the host and organizer of the Kootenays' Best Singer Contest.

Nelson’s Best Singer returns for second year

There's still time to sign up for this annual competition

Think you have what it takes to be named Nelson’s Best Singer?

Now’s your chance to find out. For the second year in a row, Nelson is a host city for the Kootenay-wide competition.

Judges will get their first look at this year’s entrants Thursday at L.V. Rogers secondary school — and there’s still time to sign up for a spot to sing.

Unlike last year, when auditions were sung for the judges alone, this year the qualifying round is in front of a live audience in the LVR auditorium.

About 30 people will sing one song each, and 16 will be selected to move onto the semi-finals on February 7, with a chance to move on to the Kootenay-wide competition against the best singers from seven cities.

Kootenays’ Best Singer Contest producer Vern Gorham said the competition is open to singers of all ages and styles. The only requirement is that they don’t have an existing recording contact.

“My oldest singer so far has been a 92-year-old from Cranbrook,” he said. “The youngest was eight-years-old.”

Contestants can sing to pre-recorded music or live accompaniment. A piano is provided on stage, and other instruments can be carried on with the artists.

“You could have five people accompanying you, if you want,” Gorham said. “Even if you want to go up as a duet or a trio, that’s fine too, as long as there’s one person deemed the lead singer, who’s the one competing.”

The contest attracts many amateur singers who have never been in front of an audience before.

“This is their chance to have their moment on stage, in an auditorium with beautiful acoustics, with all the focus on them,” Gorham said.

Last year, 16-year-old Tessa Van Der Holt was declared the city’s best singer. She went on to finish sixth in regional competition.

While he knows the element of competition is a big part of what brings people out (“If I’d called it a singing exhibition, we’d have a half empty auditorium,” he said), Gorham always encourages singers not to worry how they place.

“I want them to enjoy the moment, whether or not they win,” he said. “Usually everyone’s just there to have fun, and the singers cheer each other on. The competition is secondary.”

The first round of Nelson’s Best Singer goes Thursday, December 20, 7:30 p.m. at L.V. Rogers auditorium.

Tickets are $6 for students, children and seniors, $8 for adults and $20 for a family of four, available at The Music Store, Bent Over Leather and the door.

To sign up to sing, go to kootenaysbestsinger.com or call Vern Gorham at 250-428-0305.

The results of this first round of competition will be published in Vurb on January 4.

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