By Matthew Reitz
The third annual Fulton Idol was held at the First United Church of Fulton last week.
The “star-making experience,” hosted by the Open Doors Neighborhood Center, was open to children ages 10-15, and participants worked with vocal coaches throughout the week before performing in competition Friday night.
Open Doors board chair Carol Dexter said Fulton Idol came to be because the center wanted to “do something nobody else was doing” in the area that could engage older adults, families and children. Dexter said she was “absolutely happy” with the turnout this year, but noted that “every year has been good.”
“It was just a positive experience for the entire week,” Dexter said of the event. “Everybody worked extremely hard all week long and it was great.”
Mistress of Ceremonies and Open Door Neighborhood board member Barbara Hubbard said it was great to see all the supporters who came to cheer on the contestants.
“Anyone who participates has really good support and I think that’s wonderful,” Hubbard said.
Dexter said she was pleased to see how many kids had returned to the event after participating in previous years’ competitions.
“What’s nice is there are a lot of repeats coming back,” Dexter said. “They enjoyed the program and wanted to be a part of it again.”
Lisa Kisselstein, a coach for the event, said the kids she worked with were “wonderful” and very responsive to coaching and suggestions.
“I love seeing people that I’ve worked with,” Kisselstein said of the performances. “I love to help them uncover what gifts they have and to help them learn to step out of the comfort zone and into what the fullness of their gifts can be.”
Another coach for the event, Gina Mazolli, said what she enjoyed most was “seeing the camaraderie among the contestants.” She said it was good to see, because getting up on stage to sing and compete is hard to do, “especially in that middle school age.”
“I think the biggest thing the kids will take from this is that they all grew musically, they all learned something, and some of them got over stage fright,” Mazzoli said. “I feel like I had a lot of individual moments with each kid and that I got to create some kind of musical impact on them.”
Eighth-grader Alexis Barth was awarded the top overall prize for her performance of the song “Warrior.” Barth said it “felt good” to win the event. She said last year, she competed and finished fourth, but this year she was determined to improve upon that performance.
“Last year I got fourth, and I felt like I really needed to step up my game this year,” Barth said.
Dexter said Barth also had a lot more confidence this year.
Chloe Hurlbut was voted second place, Vita Dean took third place, Mya Kinder took fourth place, and EvaLynn Dickens took fifth place. Also competing in the event were runners up Jessica Gilmore, Elizabeth Rowland, Serenity Lauckarn, Mikayla Vannorstrand, Madajiaha McLaughlin, Sabastion Lauckarn and Pipe Dunning.
“All of you who competed are winners, and I give you a lot of credit for that,” Hubbard said before handing out the awards. She said she thought it was an accomplishment “just for the kids to get up there” and perform, but noted that this year’s event featured some truly excellent singers.