FULTON, NY – Thirteen young contestants anxiously took the stage recently to sing their hearts out in hopes of being crowned “Fulton Idol.”
This year was the third annual event hosted by Open Doors Neighborhood Center at the First United Church in Fulton.
After multiple flyers are sent home with students, local media advertised the event and friends and family spread the word, contestants registered and prepared for a week of coaching with local singing mentors.
Monday through Thursday, the contestants spent two and a half hours practicing their individual pieces as well as two group routines with event coaches Gina Mazolli, Lisa Kisselstein and Dan Williams.
Coach Mazolli has spent years singing at places like the Renaissance Festival, the Oswego Opera, her church choir and more.
This is her first year working as a coach for Fulton Idol.
“I’m so proud of them, I couldn’t be happier. Each one of them progressed so much over the week and I loved seeing them up there just lighting up with confidence. Each coach got to spend time with each contestant and we all got to have moments with each of them and put our own spin on it,” said Mazolli.
Then, Friday night, the young singers were ready to showcase their talent in front of the judges, Laurna Hoffman and Kathy Degolyer as well as a packed room full of family and friends.
After an opening group number to “Do, Re, Mi,” the contestants took to the stage one at a time to perform the song of their choice.
After all 13 contestants had performed, the showcase was closed with a group number “Let There Be Peace on Earth” and with that everyone was welcomed to cookies and refreshments during a brief intermission for judging consultation.
After a thoughtful deliberation, the judges returned with first through fifth place finishers.
While the top finishers received a monetary prize graciously donated from Fulton Savings Bank, each participant received a certificate of participation, a trophy that exclaimed “You’re A Star,” a group picture taken earlier in the week, a souvenir program and a personal cookie decorated with each individual name.
As the contestants anxiously awaited the results, Alexis Barth, an eighth grader at Fulton Junior High School, was all smiles as she realized she had won the title of Fulton Idol.
Barth competed in Fulton Idol last year and took home fourth place.
She had also performed in similar settings such as Syracuse Jazz Fest.
“I liked the last day the most,” said 12-year-old Barth. “To see how everyone has grown as a performer and a singer and I think they all did extremely well.”
Second place was awarded to Chloe Hurlbut; third place to Vita Dean; fourth place to Mya Kinder; and fifth place to EvaLynn Dickens.
The emcee of the event, Barbara Hubbard, reminded all of the contestants, “I want to congratulate all of you. It can be a very scary thing to get up there in front of everyone. You’ve all tried your best all week and you’ve all progressed, so good job to you all!”
Everyone involved with the Open Doors Neighborhood Center deemed the event a success for yet another year and set their sights to their next event.
“The Open Doors Neighborhood Center is a community/church organization that reaches out to the community with activities, seminars, movies, and events that appeal to children, families and older adults,” said event coordinator Carol Dexter. “I think we had a great turnout this year! Some of these kids have been contestants all three years and they are all so enthusiastic. It’s awesome to see the progression they all make from Monday when they first walk through the door to their performance on Friday.”