By Cameron Rasmusson
The auditions, rehearsals and endless practice sessions are coming to an end, and a talented array of Sandpoint’s best and brightest are ready to showcase their performances for the community. Sponsored by the Pend Oreille Arts Council, Northern Stars Rising is an opportunity for up-and-coming local performers to shine in front of an audience — as well as compete for cash prizes and attention from talent scouts. This year’s show features performances from Sandpoint Hight School Choir Barbershop Quartet, Emily Grace Nicholson, Milla Coggin, Brendan Kelty with Pete Hicks, Riley Anderson, and Stone Cloud 4.
“I’m very excited about the line up this year,” said POAC director Hannah Combs. “We have a barbershop quartet, a rock band, some stellar vocalists and three of the six acts have written all of their own music. So we have some seriously talented up-and-coming singer-songwriters in the mix.”
According to Combs, the first year of Northern Stars Rising had a broader focus to determine exactly how to serve the needs of the performers. Based on that experience, the planners decided to shift gears for the second year.
“We realized that we already offer opportunities for local dancers and actors in some of our other productions, so we decided to tighten up the Northern Stars show by highlighting only musicians and vocalists, who otherwise weren’t being served by our programs,” Combs said. “Through much brainstorming, we evaluated how we could create an experience that could be a launchpad for ambitious and hardworking performers. Our goal is for them to practice the professionalism and receive the exposure that could further their careers as performers and potentially elevate the level of engagements they are able to book in the future.”
This year, performers get a longer set, and they’ll need to make good use of it. They’re competing for up to $400 in cash prizes and the bragging rights as 2019 Performer of the Year, which also yields a professional headshot and more performance opportunities.
Northern Stars Rising takes place at the Heartwood Center Friday, March 29. A reception takes place at 6 p.m., followed by seating at 6:30 p.m. and the performance at 7 p.m. Tickets are already sold out online, but proactive individuals may still find a few available at the local locations: Eve’s Leaves, Eichardt’s, Winter Ridge and 7B Bistro in Ponderay.
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