This weekend voices will ring out, belt out and some will warble at Bethany Missionary Church, International Gospel Center and Calvary United Church in St. Jacobs, each singer vying for the chance to be the voice of the Shinin’ Star on the Faith FM radio station.
One of those voices will be that of Danielle Fleming, a Grade 12 student at Elmira District Secondary School who applied after her mother brought the contest to her attention. Fleming sent in her entry form back in November and has been named as one of just more than 50 people in the region who will audition for a panel of judges this weekend with the hopes of being crowned the ‘shinin’ star’ of the Christian faith-based radio station. Also up for grabs are a professional recording session at Revelation Sound in Guelph for two demo songs and guaranteed airplay on at least three Ontario Christian stations.
Fleming will sing a capella, something she is fairly used to after several years of singing at Elmira Community Church and in school plays. She has also taken piano lessons, and taught herself to play the guitar when she was 14. Despite her experience, however, she said she will be nervous when the time comes to be put to the test.
“I am not nervous yet but I know I will be. I usually don’t get nervous until right before I have to go on stage.”
Fleming and the other four dozen or so contestants will be evaluated on their pitch, timing, tone, articulation, voice control, stage presence, connection with the audience, choice of song for their voice, appearance, whether or not they used their full vocal range and whether they have a ‘radio friendly voice.’
Sitting on the judges panel will be Carrie Gusé from Kitchener who is the minister of music and arts at Bethany Missionary Church and has recorded two of her own CDs. She sang her first solo at 15 months old. Next to Gusé will be Brad Dugas, who has been recording music for 15 years, operates Revelation Sound in Guelph and plays on the worship team at Parkview Pentecostal Church in Guelph. Rounding things out is Jane Valenta, a Grade 3 and 4 teacher and music instructor at Plattsville Christian School in New Hamburg. She has recorded two CDs of her own as well as teaching more than 350 voice and piano students, and she is the worship leader at Wilmot Centre Missionary Church.
For this round, contestants just need to get a score higher than 80 per cent to move onto the next round. Each of the three nights of the secondary competition, two people will be chosen to move on to the final round, in addition to one wildcard, or a judge’s personal favourite, for a total of nine finalists who’ll perform at Kitchener’s Centre In The Square.
Fleming plans on going to the audition with her mother, best friend as well as her brother and his girlfriend.
“We will get to listen to everyone else sing so we are going to make a night of it, I think it will be fun for a bunch of us to go.”
Although most of the competitors hail from the Kitchener and Waterloo areas, Shinin’ Star assistant committee chair Barbara Dowling said organizers like to see fresh faces from other regions, and they are pleased to have had several applicants from Woolwich Township this year.
“This year word has spread more than in previous years and we have competitors entered from places all over the area.”
Other competitors from the Woolwich area are Maggie Wang and Jackson Rogers. The final stage of the competition takes place on Feb. 5 at Centre In The Square.
“I think it would be super cool to get to that final round and perform at Centre In The Square and just be up on stage, that’s what I would be most excited about,” said Fleming.