Sept. 15 ushers in the finals of Altrusa’s musical fundraiser called The Voice.
The event began as a successor to the Altrusa Club’s Christmas Tree fundraiser. “The tree sale,” explained Marianne Cross, Altrusa member, “had lost it sense as a fundraiser and we were looking for something new.”
Three years ago, Altrusan Rose Price came up with the idea of doing a local version of the TV program called “The Voice.” They attract singing contestants through advertising, especially on Facebook. “We try to get at least 30,” said Price. The singers pay $25 to compete.
Judges were picked by making phone calls to local musicians/musical talents within the community. “It was really a matter of who was interested and available for the dates of the two competitions,” Cross explained.
This year there are two returning judges from last year – Rusty Wouters and Susan Walton. One judge, Allyson Shaw Crosby, is a returning judge from the first year. Sarah Jane Guinan is a new judge this year. She was a contestant in year one, making the final four.
To appear in the blind audition, the singer has to bring a CD with their background music; they can’t have other vocals. They can play an instrument if they choose.
At the blind audition, which is held in front of an audience at the Magic Circle Theatre, the judges have their backs turned to the performer. Each contestant sings and if the judges like them they can turn around while they’re singing. Each contestant gets points for each judge who turns. The judges are each scoring them on different vocal criteria, song selection, stage presence, among other things. After they’re finished, each contestant has a chance to get constructive criticism from the judges.
The score sheets are entered into the computer and whichever 12 contestants have the highest scores go on to the finals.
At the Magic Circle there are two different dressing rooms, half the contestants are in one and half in the other. There’s a monitor where they can watch the show.
At the finals, held at the Pavilion, all twelve will get to sing a song. The audience will actually vote at this point. Audience members download an app to their smart phone. After the first 12 are finished singing, they pick their top four. “It is so hard!” said Cross. “I can’t believe the talent in this area. It’s crazy being the MC.” Asked why she was chosen, Cross laughingly replied, “I guess I was the one with the least excuses of why I couldn’t do it.”
Then the Final Four will come out and sing again. The judges will also sing since they are performers in their own right.
The final moment of this long elimination with be the announcement of the winner the performer with the most number one votes.