Seeking local talent: POAC to hold Northern Stars Rising auditions Jan. 11

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

Working toward its mission to help local artists broaden their reach, the Pend Oreille Arts Council is again facilitating the Northern Stars Rising competition — a battle of musical talent for local performers of varied ages and skill levels. Auditions for the annual competition are Saturday, Jan. 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Heartwood Center.

Milla Coggin plays her ukulele during the 2019 Northern Stars Rising competition.
Courtesy photo.

“We’re open to all genres and sizes of groups,” said POAC Executive Director Hannah Combs. “They can perform original or cover music — and there will be a separate prize for the best original song.”

Northern Stars Rising competitors are split into three categories: Polaris, which encompasses performers ages 14 to 18; Sirius, for ages 19 to 25; and Aurora, for those 26 and older.

“The North Star [Polaris] is a bright beacon in our night sky, always oriented in the right direction. This category is for high-school students who are learning what it takes to be a professional musician,” Combs said. “All stars shine, but none like Sirius, the brightest star in the northern sky. This category is for young adults with serious hopes of booking more paid gigs. [And] the stunning aurora borealis, or northern lights, give a rare, breathtaking show that is a delight to see. This [category] is for the established artists … who are already performing locally but hope to expand their reach outside North Idaho.”

Performers will audition with a three- to five-minute sample of their work, and two competitors will be chosen from each category to perform a 10- to 12-minute set at the official Northern Stars Rising show Friday, Feb. 21, also held at the Heartwood Center. 

A panel of three POAC Performing Arts leaders will jury the auditions. First and second prizes in each category during the Feb. 21 show will be determined by five guest panelists. Prizes include recording sessions, photoshoots, music supplies, lessons at the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint, videos and more.

Those wanting to audition must RSVP to secure a time slot by going to and clicking on the Northern Stars Rising button, where details and an application form are available. Those with questions can call the POAC office at 208-263-6139.

Northern Stars Rising Auditions • Saturday, Jan. 11. FREE. The Heartwood Center, 615 Oak St., 208-263-6139,

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