Summer’s End tried something new last year and it was such a success it’s back again this year – “Race to the Stage” offers musicians of all varieties the chance to compete for a spot on the program at the annual Summer’s End concert at Eldredge Field.
Last year, 47 acts entered the contest, 12 were chosen to audition at the Race to the Stage show at the Odeum and 4 were selected to perform at Summer’s End on Aug. 31. The acts included a classical guitarist, a yodeling country singer, a rock band and a local duo.
This year, who knows who might win? And, to sweeten the pot, Summer’s End has added cash prizes – $500 for first place, $300 for second and $200 for third.
But if you or someone you know is interested in competing, time is running out! Submissions must be in by April 1. Contestants can go to the website to submit an application and link to a video. Race to the Stage performers will be announced by mid-April. The event is Sunday, April 29, at 4 p.m. at the Odeum. You can buy tickets here ($10) or at the door ($15).
Each contestant will perform one song. EG’s own Sal Sauco is emcee for the event and the judges this year will be Dana Wronski, Katie Kleyla, Megan Catelli, and Bill McGrath. They do feedback American-Idol style after each performance and at the end, they confer with one another and announce three winners (last year, there were so many strong acts that they chose four).
Last year’s winners:
- Victor Main, classical guitarist – https://vimeo.com/157079590
- Bethany Lynn, country performer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPK3lGNnOSI&feature=youtu.be
- Maggie Callan (vocalist) and Sophie Speca (guitar) – from EGHS https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=_jZQ1xKVz7w
- The Billy Harpin Band – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wy5gpWHnKJk&feature=youtu.be
About the judges:
Megan Winters Catelli is currently a string specialist at Cole Middle School in East Greenwich where she teaches orchestra and band. Formerly, she was the director of orchestras for the Easton, Mass., public schools. Megan is a cellist who performs locally, often with small chamber groups or as a soloist for special occasions. She is an East Greenwich native and a University of Rhode Island graduate in Music Education.
Katie Kleyla, soprano, is a lover of music, art, and laughter. She is a graduate of URI, with a B.A. in Music. She is the star of the New Providence Big Band, a 20 piece swing band, selected by Providence Monthly as the Most Musical Act in Rhode Island. She was the featured soloist of URI’s Big Band, conducted by Grammy nominated composer, Joe Parillo. She is cantor at St. Joseph’s in Providence, and has sung in churches throughout New England. She has performed with Opera Providence, New Bedford Festival Theatre, and performs weekly with a jazz quartet. Favorite appearances: the annual Christmas Gala at the Breakers Mansion in Newport, performing in Providence’s famed “Superman Building,” and singing with the R.I. Philharmonic.
Bill McGrath: Bill is the vice president of the R.I. Country Music Association, former Vice President of R.I. Country Horizons. Bill is also a member of the Massachusetts Country Music Association. He is a Promoter of Bill McGrath’s Music Series, Performance Director of Rising. Bill is also a member of the R.I. Songwriters Association. Bill is an honorary member of the RI Country Music Hall of Fame.
Dana Wronski: Dana is a talented local singer-songwriter. She has recorded here and is the musical director for Destiny Africa Children’s Choir in Kampala, Uganda. Dana is a familiar person in town for overseeing some of our favorite culinary hangouts; she is the proprietor of Besos Kitchen and Cocktails here in town. Dana has played at Summer’s End several times in the past.