‘Sing Out for Families’ at Voice-like competition

Pinon Project to raise funds with musical contest

A Pinon Project fundraiser modeled after a popular reality TV show is coming to Cortez. And contestants are needed!

The premiere of “The Voice — Sing out for Families” begins with open auditions at the Pinon Project, 300 N. Elm, on Saturday, July 13, at 9 a.m.

Contestants at the audition sing a cappella (with no musical accompaniment) for 30 seconds. There will be a $5 processing fee.

All ages, real and perceived talents are welcome, said Kelly Willis, Pinon Project executive director.

“We wanted to change it up this year from our usual comedy show fundraiser,” Willus said. “Just show up Saturday and be ready to have some fun.”

She and her board felt the agency needed a new idea. During a brainstorming session, board member and musician Wanda Martin jumped at the opportunity to organize a small-town version of The Voice, one of her favorite shows.

“Singing competitions have become very popular, and there’s a lot of talent here,” she said. “We need more contestants though. It’s a great experience for local talent.”

The semi-finals of “The Voice — Sing Out For Families” competition will take place Friday, July 26, at the fairgrounds starting at 7 p.m.

The creative fundraiser is the kick-off event for the 2013 Montezuma County Fair, which runs through August 3. Contestants at the semifinals will perform a 90-second piece and can use a musical instrument.

“We decided to partner with the fair as a way to draw more of a crowd,” Martin said.

Contestants will be judged on marketability, vocal ability, originality, stage presence and talent.

Tickets are $15 per event, or $25 for both nights. For children 12 and under, admission is $5.

Tickets may be purchased at the Pinon Project or from any board member. All proceeds will be used by the Pinon Project to assist local families.

First prize is $500 cash and a professional recording session. Second prize, is an overnight stay for two at the Mesa Verde National Park, and third place is dinner for four catered by Seas’nings.

Sing away

The Voice competitions have a unique set up that combines anonymity with collaboration between contestants and judges.

During the semifinals, singers perform in front of a panel of judges sitting in swivel chairs with their backs turned. They turn around if they appreciate the performance, and depending on how many swivel, the contestant either moves on to the finals or is out.

“The whole concept is that the singers are judged by their voice,” Martin explained. “That way there are no preconceived notions and it’s more fair.”

Twelve singers will move on to the finals, and finalists each team up with a judge to fine-tune and improve their performance. Judges all have musical backgrounds.

The 12 singers who make it to the finals will perform at the Ute Mountain Casino on August 14 at 7 p.m., and the elimination method is set up to be a real crowd-pleaser. Finalists prepare two songs to perform. On the first song, judges swivel to indicate which six singers will have an opportunity to perform their second song.

Then the audience gets involved. The remaining six competitors sing their second song, and the crowd chooses the first, second and third winners. The audience uses poker chips deposited in containers representing each singer to vote for their favorite.

There will be random drawings for great door prizes for the audience.

“I know this will be a great fundraiser,” Martin said. “We just need to get it off the ground, then the potential for growth is really good. It involves the community which is really fun.”

For more information call the Pinon Project at 564-1195 or go online for all the information for “The Voice — Sing Out for Families” at www.pinonproject.org

jmimiaga@cortezjournal.com