Castlegar singers in the contest running

Excitement builds in Kootenay singing contest, next event in Cranbrook

Castlegar’s Kelsea Dorosz and Mateo Villa hold the trophies won in the local segment of the Kootenays’ Best Singer competition last month.

The Kootenays’ Best Singer Contest Finals are coming up on June 1 as the final local contest in Cranbrook wrapped up on May 20. There will be 14 singers in the finals representing the communities of Grand Forks, Castlegar, Nelson, Creston, Fernie, Kimberley, and Cranbrook.

Contest producer Vern Gorham is very impressed with this year’s group of talented singers from each community. Gorham stated, “Judging is the most difficult part of the contest, and with the high level of the local best singer champions from each community, I do not envy the job the judges will have to try to determine who will win the crown of 2013 Kootenays Best Singer Champion.”

This year’s Kootenays Best Singing Contest season started in August in Grand Forks with Missy Faulkner placing first, followed by older sister Wendy Faulkner finishing second. That was followed up by Nelson in which Gabe MacDonald won followed closely behind by Charlie Pears Smith.

In the new year, Creston produced Victoria Bowns and Ben Lansing as their two finalists, Kimberley saw Devin Fikis and Kathleen Decosse advance. Fernie’s top two singers were Maria Landa and Claire Bernier, Castlegar had Mateo Villa and Kelsea Dorosz move on, and on Monday May 20, Cranbrook’s Best Singer was Tyrel Hawke, with Jamie Byram finishing second.

The youngest singer in the group is Claire Bernier from Fernie who is only eleven years old. Bernier is also the youngest singer to advance to the Kootenay Finals in the two years of the contest, eclipsing Devin Fikis who advanced in 2012 as a 14 year old, but who is coming back again this year from Kimberley, one year older and wiser. Regarding the ability of the young singers, Gorham added “A number of the best singers from each community were relatively young this year, but are immensely talented. I am amazed that someone as young as Claire, and even Devin Fikis, who is now a veteran of both Kootenay Championships at the ripe old age of 15 years old, can sing with such strength.”

From the crop of singers who participated in the first annual Kootenays’ Best Singer Championship last season, only Devin Fikis of Kimberley returns as most of last year’s singers who advanced from their local communities were not able to advance through their local contests this year, or were unable to compete because of school obligations, or other reasons.

For those who are fortunate enough to be in Cranbrook on June 1, and want to watch, the contest is being held at 7 p.m. (note Cranbrook Time) at the the Alliance Church, 1200 Kootenay St N., a venue that Gorham states is the most amazing singing venue in the Kootenays. Advance ticket prices are only $5 for seniors, children and students, and $8 for adults, and tickets can be reserved through contacting Gorham, then paid for at the door for those people who live outside of Cranbrook. Please contact contest producer Vern Gorham through email at or phone 250-428-0305.

Ticket prices at the door are $10 for everyone except children who will pay $5.

For more information please go to or like their facebook page at kootenays best singer contest to stay updated on the contest throughout the year.

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