BEMIDJI -- Headwaters Music and Arts celebrated the musical talents of local amateur vocalists on Thursday, Aug. 6, with their virtual Bemidji Sings! competition.

This year was the third annual Bemidji Sings! event which is usually a live, ticketed show. In 2019 Bemidji Sings! sold out at Bemidji State University's Bangsberg Hall. However, due to COVID-19 concerns the whole event and auditions were moved online, a release said.

New this year, vocalists were asked to record and submit a video of themselves singing. Submissions were compiled into a virtual show, hosted and produced by David Eichholz of Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos. The video went live at 7 p.m. Aug. 6 on YouTube.

Finalists included Helen Bartlett, Traci Djonne Schank, Heidi Fladeboe, Donna Gaston, Kari Grace, Maya Lindquist, Nessa Peters, Aspen Tobin, Doyle Turner, Andrew Hokanson and Charlotte Saxton.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Winners for Division I for ages 13-20 were: Charlotte Saxton in first place, receiving $500 and recording time at Supple Studios; Andrew Hokanson in second place runner up, receiving $100; and Maya Lindquist in third place alternate receiving $50.

Winners in Division II for ages 21 and older were: Heidi Fladeboe in first place, receiving $500 and recording time at Supple Studios; second place was Doyle Turner, receiving $100; and Kari Grace in third place alternate receiving $50.

Singers were judged on vocal skill, presentation and the judge's overall impression in the two divisions. Judges included Zaq Swank of St. Cloud and LouAnn Dierkhising of Park Rapids.

The first and second place winner in each category is now eligible to compete at the state-wide Minnesota Sings competition in September. This year Bemidji’s event also introduced a People’s Choice Award, inviting viewers to vote for their personal favorite performance of the night.

Maya Lindquist was chosen by the community as the recipient of the People’s Choice Award, Headwaters announced on Friday.

Funds raised during Bemidji Sings! will support the Headwaters Music and Arts financial assistance program.

Local sponsors for the event include Paul Bunyan Communications, Dandelion Vault, Dean Bentler Cabinets & Woodworking, Lakes Liquor, Team Industries, Green Mill Restaurant, Norbord, Ottertail Power, We Love Messes, Just Dandy, Keg N Cork, and Supple Studios, as well as Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos and the Minnesota State Arts Board.