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Singers wanted for "Commerce Idol"

By Chancellor Mills
On February 18, 2011

The Commerce Rotary Club is preparing to host its sixth annual Commerce Idol talent show and scholarship fundraiser with auditions starting on Feb. 18.

"Commerce Idol is the most exciting event we sponsor each year," Commerce Rotary President Mike Roberts said. " Not only is it a fun time for kids and adults to show off their talents, but it is also our most important fundraiser. The money we raise is used for the scholarships we award each year to Commerce High School seniors. Two students are selected each year and each are awarded $500 for four school semesters."

Commerce Rotary President Elect Jalinna Jones has been in charge of publicity for the event for the past two years.

"Really what we need to push right now is auditions," Jones said. "We're hoping to attract from around the community, but also different student groups on campus, individuals on campus who would like to participate. We would love to have them and we hope they come out."

According to Jones, there will be a new addition to the contest this year that she hopes will add some "incentive."

"There are [going to be] cash prizes for the top winners in each category," she said. "So that may be a pretty good incentive for our A&M-Commerce students to come out – either as individual performers or as a group."

There are going to be four separate age groups competing and the winner of each category will win a monetary prize, according to Jones.

"There are four different age groups and cash prizes will be given to the winner of each age category with trophies also given to 1st and 2nd place winners," she said. "The 3rd-5th grade winner will receive $75 with the 6th-8th grade winner receiving $100. The 9th-12th grade winner receives $200 and the 18 & up winner receives the top prize of $300. There is also a category for church groups. A church band or performing group of more than three people can enter this category and the prize is a $250 donation to the church."

This will be Jones' second year to work publicity for the event and she said that she has noticed a change in the demographic of the audience.

"[In the past] the turnout has been really exciting," Jones said. "We've certainly had a lot of acts and a lot of diverse acts, which is really nice to have. And then ticket sales have really increased each year. A lot of our audience is comprised of people who know someone who is performing, but it seems like, in recent years, we've had students and other community members coming out, which is really exciting."

As part of the winning group in the 18 & older category, junior animal science major Stephanie Langford said that participating in Commerce Idol last year was an overall entertaining experience.

"I was in show choir in high school, and was afraid that I wouldn't be able to perform anymore during college, so I was really excited when I heard about Commerce Idol," Langford said. "JenAnne Shumway, Morgan Saxon, Tyler Harwell, and I decided to perform a fun skit/song as a group, and I think that really made the overall experience, for me at least, really entertaining. We definitely had some laughs and made a lot of good memories throughout the experience."

Commerce Idol will take place on March 5 at 7 p.m. in the Commerce Middle School auditorium. Audition applications and a non-refundable $10 fee are currently being accepted through Feb. 18. Applications and rules are available at the Chamber of Commerce as well as the main offices of each school. Tickets for the show are $5.00 each and are available at the Chamber of Commerce and from Rotary Club members.


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