A five-week long karaoke contest has helped bring business and revenue back to the Chewelah American Legion by offering five large cash prizes totaling $1,600.
Whispering Ridge Ent., LLC and Davis Financial and Development, LLC are sponsoring the amateur singing contest where first place will be awarded $750, second place: $450, third place: $250, fourth place: $100, and fifth place: $50.
The first two nights of competition were held on Sept. 21 and Sept. 28 and the contest continues on Friday, Oct. 5 and Friday, Oct. 12.
The top two singers (and any tie scores) from each night move on to “Finale Friday” on Oct. 19 to compete for the five cash prizes donated by Sandy and Teresa Davis of Davis Financial.
Whispering Ridge Ent. based out of the Cusick foothills has donated all the karaoke services along with associated expenses.
Owner Linda St. John said they planned this event as a way to support the American Legion and bring revenue back to the club so they can continue supporting the community and veterans through programs they offer.
St. John said the event has worked better than they imagined. The Legion has been “packed house” so far.
“It’s not just huge,” St. John said. “It’s turned gigantic.”
The event has brought the legion business during other nights as well since Whispering Ridge has been running practice nights on Saturday for anyone to take the mic.
The competition is open to anyone 18 years and older and contestants are free to choose their own song. Any spectators are welcome to watch the show at no cost. Warm-up and open mic will begin at 6:30 p.m. prior to the contest start and is available to anyone.
The first 25 people to register for the Karaoke contest and pay the $5 entry fee, which helps offset costs of the event, by 8 p.m. on each competition night get to sing for three judges who score them based on voice, singing ability and presentation of song.
The contestants draw numbers at random to determine their performance order and performances start at 8:30 p.m.
Four singers advanced from the first night, with three ties for second place: Leslie Masuda of Chewelah, Jaime Carlson of Colville, Steven Carlson of Colville, and Marlana Francis of Spokane. And two advanced from the second night: Lindsay Phillips of Spokane Valley and Sandy Hafer of Mead.
St. John said karaoke is popular because “people love it” and it “really is fun.” It is a positive activity that is as much fun to watch as it is to participate in, St. John added.
“I have had many exciting experiences with it over the years,” she said.
So far in the contest, they have seen a lot of talent coming from all over Stevens, Spokane and Pend Oreille counties.
“The judges said they had no idea judging would be that tough,” St. John said. “Some sang the song better than the actual singer.”
Teresa Davis of Davis Financial also said, “It’s surprising me how well its going over.”
Teresa and Sandy Davis are semi-retired and own their own financial lending company near Seattle they can operate from a remote location, which allows them time to visit Chewelah every summer.
Sandy Davis is a member of the Sons of the American Legion while Teresa is a member of the Legion Auxiliary.
They built a house on the Chewelah Golf Course about eight years ago and noticed this past June, when returning to town, that business at the legion has gone down since they first got involved.
So the Davises got together with Whispering Ridge Ent. to find a way to “pump life back into the legion,” Davis said.
Davis said the contest not only benefits the legion, but also the contestants who win the money as it will stay local. The event also boosts legion and community morale as well by giving the community something fun and safe to do on Friday evenings, she said.
Mike Ludwig, 1st Vice Commander for the Legion, said they have been very appreciative of what the contest has done for the club,
It has been good for promoting the legion and showing people how they have improved the hall in the past few years. It’s also been good for getting people back in and recruiting new members.
“It’s been a huge success,” Ludwig said. “It’s better than I could have expected.”
During the evening on Finale Friday, Whispering Ridge Ent. and Davis Financial will also host a raffle with various prizes available. The proceeds will go to support local American Legion scholarships.
For more information or to reserve a spot in the contest, contact St. John at 509-671-1437. Visit whispering101.wix.com/ karaoke to keep up on the winners each week and find out how many openings are left for the remaining contest nights.
By Kellie Trudeau, The Independent Staff