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Rookie earns ‘Quest’ crown

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“Quest for the Best” rookie Mike McCaig cleaned up at the annual singing competition here Friday night, winning not only the $1,000 grand prize but also first place in the second set ($500) and the People’s Choice award for the second set ($100).

“I’m ecstatic,” he exclaimed following his many encores.

“It’s really great, I’m very happy.”

After performing “If I Were a Carpenter” to take top spot in the second set, McCaig took on first-set winner Larissa Desrosiers in the “Battle Song” for all the marbles (Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock”).

He then ended the night strumming his guitar while singing two more songs—even pulling out his harmonica to play a short one.

“I’ll probably pay off the rest of my car insurance and maybe save the rest of it,” McCaig replied when asked what he was going to do with his winnings.

“I live in Fort Frances and I work for the power corporation,” he noted, adding he recently graduated from university, majoring in history with a minor in English Literature.

McCaig said he plans on going to teachers’ college down the road.

“I actually had so much fun,” said Desrosiers, who lost in the “Battle Song” for the

second-straight year.

“It was way too much fun.

“I gave it my all, I did everything that I could,” she added. “I’m just on a high right now.”

Desrosiers, who kicked off the night by singing “House of the Rising Sun,” pocketed $500 for winning the first set.

“I wish it were a little warmer,” she admitted when asked how the Sorting Gap Marina venue compared to the Memorial Sport Centre.

“[But] I really like it here. There’s a really good atmosphere in this place.

“Thanks to everyone who came out and listened,” she added.

The tent was full, with many people donning jackets and even mittens as the night wore on and the temperature dipped.

Others chose dancing as a means to stay warm—rushing up to the front to cheer on performers like “Mystery Man” (a.k.a. Clinton Bruyere), who sang “Pretty Women” and took home the Audience Response Award ($250).

And in perhaps the night’s biggest moment, performer Jon Glueheisen called his girlfriend, Lisa Stasiuk, up on stage and sang “Would You Go With Me” to close out the first set.

Then at the end of the song, he pulled a ring out of his pocket and proposed on stage in front of everyone, who cheered wildly and gave the couple a standing ovation.

“I think it was amazing. I was so excited with all of the people and the talent,” Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce manager Annely Armstrong noted Monday morning.

“It was wonderful,” she added. “We packed the house, we had done the best that we could hope for, and I think everybody had a great time.”

Armstrong noted the tent has a capacity of 1,250, and guessed that’s about how many people were in attendance for “Quest.”

“Some of the singers, even though they were new, had a great time,” she added.

“Joey Payeur did great,” she lauded. “He was new and he didn’t really feel that he could sing, but he came out just to have fun.

“Really that’s what it’s all about.”

Emcee for the evening was Leo Melanson from 93.1 The Border while the judges included Atikokan blues and jazz singer Sunday Wilde, former “Quest” winner Brittany Hayes, and 93.1 The Border on-air personality Andy C.

Hayes, who won “Quest” in 2012, was the guest performer during intermission.

Local band “The Faculty” played back-up music for all of the “Quest” performers.

Other performers who took home prizes included:

  • Show and Award Sponsor ($100)–John Thorgrimson (“Don’t Worry About Me”);
  • Second place first set ($300)–Nelson Bragg (“The A-Team”);
  • Second place second set ($300)–Bridget Jorgenson and David Loney (“Bruises”);
  • People’s Choice first set ($100)–Erika Tymkin (“People Like Us”);
  • Dark Horse ($250)–Katelyn Shortreed (“See You Again”); and
  • Rookie Award ($100)–Joey Payeur (“Chattahoochee”)

Also performing were Chelsea Carlson (“Titanium”), Dylan Ossachuk (“Rocket Man”), Jonathan Price (“Don’t Look Back in Anger”), Danielle Hammond (“Why Ya Wanna”), Alyxandra Barnard (“Something’s Got a Hold of Me”), Jessica Desrosiers (“Up to the Mountain”), Sandra Allan (“Just a Fool”), Taylor Shouldice (“If I Die Young”), Alex Denby (“The Cave”), and Mylo Smith (“Promise This”).

In related news, the Fort Frances Dental Centre also drew Sophie Donaldson’s name in its annual Disney trip draw.

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