Held in conjunction for its second time with the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, “Quest for the Best” proved to be an hit yet again, seeing a slew of local talent entertain a sold-out crowd of 1,200-plus.
“We’re very, very pleased with the success,” enthused organizer Dawn Booth.
“I think, overall, it was a great time not only from the contestants standpoint, but ours as well, working with the bass tournament,” she added. Booth, who also serves a co-ordinator at the Chamber of Commerce here. The Chamber co-sponsored “Quest” along with CFOB.
Although the contest was topped by Lindsay Hamilton, followed closely by Jon Bone and Alyson Booth, all 20 acts, including five duets, proved to be stars in one way or another.
“I thought they were awesome. It was the first time we had that much variety—it was a real crowd-pleaser,” remarked Booth, referring to the spectrum of talent that included Ian Martin’s acoustic original which garnered him “most original” prize, to R.J. Noga and Blair Whitefish’s rendition of the Ozzy Osbourne classic, “Crazy Train.
The latter won them the audience response prize ($100).
Other prizes were earned by “Quest” veterans, including Jodie Allan (people’s choice—$150), Alyson Booth (people’s choice—$150), and Cara Coran (contestants’ choice—$100).
“You can notice in a lot of them how they’d improved. And for you to get up there and perform in front of 1,200 always takes a lot of courage,” noted Booth.
Lindsay Hamilton, who competed in ‘Quest’ twice before, but never placed, is still on “Cloud Nine.”
“It was nuts,” she enthused. “There were more people, more ‘psychic energy,’ and that really helped out a lot.”
Hamilton admitted the secret to her success with her performance of “I Know” by Save Ferris. “My secret was that I did what I wanted to do, and I guess it paid off. When I’d done pop stuff in the past, it’s not really suited to my voice,” she said.
Alyson Booth, who’s competed in eight “Quests” as well as other singing contests, said this year’s event was a good as ever. “I know I say it every year, but I love it. I feel bad for the judges, though. Choosing a contestants’ choice is tough enough,” she remarked.
“But as far as having placed third, I was happy and surprised. And the people’s choice means even more to me,” added Booth.
“It’s a great event, and I hope it keeps going—I think I’ll do it ’til I die,” she quipped.
The four hour-plus event was rounded out with solo performances by contestants new and old to “Quest,” including Katie Steele, Heather Mihichuk, Branda Avis, Pat Kowalchuk, Misty Christian, Milissa Klemmensen, Jason Godin, Charles Fisher, and Susie Grynol.
Also performing duets were Jessica DeGagne and Brittni Oster, R.J. Comeau and Christina Sletmoen, Leona and Marie Grandbois, and Julie Campagna and Sandra Ruttan.
The night also featured guest appearances by last year’s “Quest” winner, Sarah Hebert (accompanied by Dan Poperechny on guitar), 13 year-old Christina Bombay, and Atikokan folk band, “Proud Nails.”
“I’m sure she’ll do a future ‘Quest,’” noted Dawn Booth, who along with the crowd, were clearly impressed with the young singer’s incredible voice and confident stage presence.
Chickie Gibson and Brian Hagarty emceed the event, and performers were judged by Todd Summer, Suzanne Danku, and Melanie Bodnar.