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Music top-notch again at ‘Classic’

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Music has been an integral part of the Emo Walleye Classic since its inception in 2002.

Whether it’s during the Saturday night dance or as the boats enter the arena for the final weigh-ins, music always seems to encourage the participation of people from across the district.

This year, the directors of the EWC put together an entertainment program aimed at pleasing spectators and performers of all ages.

Friday evening began with a new musical category, aptly named “Minnow-idol,” for performers aged eight-13. This new age group attracted seven hopefuls to the EWC stage.

Danielle Hammond, Haley Trimble, Karrigan Johnston, Jasmyne Crans, Alyssa VanDrunen, Martina Morriseau, and Isaac Firth all sang in the first round of competition.

Although a couple of the young singers experienced some technical problems, everyone performed to the best of their abilities.

The top three then were asked by the judges to sing a second song.

Trimble, who was chosen to go first, sang “Kerosene” by Miranda Lambert, VanDrunen sang “Our Song,” while Morriseau performed “Love Story” by Taylor Swift.

The emcee for the evening, Joe Carlson of Yowza Music, then told the crowd that they would not be announcing the winners of the “Minnow-idol” until after the “Walleyedol” competition.

The nine singers who competed in the 2009 “Walleyedol” ranged in age from 14 to 30 something. Each brought a great deal of talent and experience to the EWC stage.

Alisha Hunter opened with a remarkable rendition of “I Still Believe” by Mariah Carey. Ken Brown, a local teacher, then did an excellent job performing “Sold” by John Michael Montgomery.

Jodie Brown, a first-time competitor in “Walleyedol” but no stranger to the microphone, added to the evening’s entertainment by singing “With a Broken Wing” by Martina McBride.

Tony Labbe, who placed second, a few years ago in the “Grandstand Jam,” entertained the crowd with his version of “I’m Yours.”

Dale Morriseau, who sounds remarkably like Johnny Cash, amazed those on hand with Cash’s well-known “Sunday Morning.”

The other performers included Kennedy Latimer, who sang “The Tiny Red Light” by Johnny Drake, Nelson Bragg with “Heart of Rock and Roll” by Huey Lewis and the News, Erica Tymkin singing “Gun Powder and Lead,” and Brittany Hayes with “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.”

Although the competition was extremely close, Hayes, Labbe, and Jodie Brown were chosen by the judges to sing in the second round.

Hayes sang “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” Labbe chose “The Joker,” while Brown rounded out the finalists with a song called “Don’t Want to Go.”

The judges for this year’s competition, Wayne Barron, Trisha McQuaker, and Dianne Maxey, took a few minutes to check their notes before announcing the winners to the waiting crowd.

In the “Minnow-idol” competition, Trimble placed first, winning $100, followed by Morriseau ($75) and VanDrunen ($50).

VanDrunen also received the $25 prize as the “People’s Choice” winner.

Maxey, who announced the winners, thanked everyone for taking part in the evening’s “Idol” competitions.

“Everyone did a marvelous job,” she enthused. “We’re very proud of you all.”

Jodie Brown then was named winner of the 2009 “Walleyedol,” walking away with the $400 grand prize.

Hayes earned $300 for second place while Labbe received $200 for his third-place finish, as well as an additional $100 as the “People’s Choice.”

EWC director Laurel Mose was really pleased with the entire evening.

“The competition was awesome and the audience support was amazing,” she lauded.

Mose would like to thank the judges, all of the contestants, and the public for its enthusiasm and support of the vocal competitions. Plans already are underway for the music at the next year’s EWC.

Competitions like these give local talent a chance to sing on stage, develop their talent, and challenge themselves to do their best in a competitive atmosphere.

This year, the local talent was very impressive and competition for the top prize was intense, but that shouldn’t stop people who enjoy singing from competing in next year’s contest.

If you think you would be interested in entering “Walleyedol” or “Minnow-idol” next May, purchase an accompaniment CD of your favourite song and start practising.

Who knows, you could be the next champion!

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