Local singing competition returns for year 2
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Get ready for a good show. The second annual “Voices of Steamboat” competition, hosted by Opera Steamboat, will be broadcast live from the Steamboat Christian Center at 5 p.m. Feb. 13. This year, viewers can pay $5 to livestream the event via YouTube.
The 12 contestants are a mix of returning and new performers, each one singing a different song in whatever genre of music they choose. And while the contestants and three judges will be in person at the Steamboat Christian Center, the rest of the world can watch from the comfort of their own homes.
“We wanted to maintain a level of normalcy and still hold the event,” said Andres Cladera, Opera Steamboat’s general and artistic director, “but obviously, it had to be virtual this year.”
The event, which is an American Idol-like singing competition, also is a fundraiser for many different nonprofits throughout Routt County. Each contestant gets to choose one organization to support and fund raise for; their chosen organization receives 70% of the money raised and Opera Steamboat receives the other 30%.
It’s a unique event that not only benefits the community but serves to highlight Steamboat talent.
Last year’s winner, Sam Luster, said he chose to participate again because of the inspiring community.
“Everyone is so supportive and creative,” Luster said. “And especially with COVID, little events like this are very cherished.”
This year, Luster will be raising money for Opera Steamboat itself, while other contestants have chosen nonprofits such as Horizons, the Soroco Education Endowment Fund, Born Free Wildlife Rehabilitation and Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.
Lisel Petis, a new contestant this year, is fundraising for Advocates of Routt County where she serves as executive director.
“It’s a program that I truly believe in,” she said. “We have an amazing staff who is creating an incredible positive impact on our community, and I love that I get to help bring in further funding to support that.”
What: Second annual “Voices of Steamboat” competition
When: 5 p.m. Feb. 13
Where: Livestream via YouTube
Cost: $5, purchase tickets on website at operasteamboat.org
Petis’ husband, Geoff, is joining her as another contestant, fundraising for a new nonprofit, Brighter World Child Advocacy Center.
Returning contestant Scott Goodhart chose to fundraise for Steamboat Dance Theatre for the second year in a row.
“This year, I think it’s especially important,” Goodhart said. “Due to COVID, the organization is unable to have their annual concert. That is by far their biggest fundraiser of the year, raising money which goes to scholarships and programs for K-12 children around Routt County. Without the concert, it’s hard to find those funds elsewhere. The only way many of these kids get dance and music exposure is because of the scholarships afforded through Dance Theatre.”
He explained that for some students, dance has been the only interaction they’ve had with their peers this year.
“The arts help develop team work as much as any sport, and they can give kids and adults the confidence to express themselves in creative ways,” Goodhart said. “I want to do all I can to continue cultivating that in the community.”
The 12 contestants will be judged by three judges: Jessica Mallow, executive director of the Kalamazoo Symphony; Elissa Greene, executive director of Strings Music Festival; and Ben Gulley, an internationally acclaimed tenor. Cladera will serve as host.
Prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place winners, with an additional prize for the contestant who raises the most money.
Participants are fundraising for their chosen nonprofits via social media, direct emails and word of mouth. There is a link on Opera Steamboat’s website to donate to each contestant’s organization.
Other contestants and their nonprofits include: Adia Clark Lay, Horizons; Aubrey Swain, CASA; Ava Dillhyon, the NOW Foundation; Carmen Anarella, Soroco Educaton Endowment Fund; Megan Arbuckle, Outfitters for Christ; Nina Rogers, Born Free Wildlife Rehabilitation; Pam Pierce, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council; and Sloan Speer, a fund for providing music and singing lessons to kids from low-income families managed by Yampa Valley Community Foundation.
“This event is meant not only to showcase local talent but to enhance the well-being of our community,” Cladera said. “This year, it’s more important than ever to the nonprofits of Routt County, so we knew we had to do it, even in a virtual format.”
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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