Saturday night was a grand night for singing at La Porte Civic Auditorium. Hoosier Star was taking place there that evening, and the everyone in attendance was ready for some delightful ear candy.
The vocalists dressed to impress and performed all types and styles of music from country to opera. Judging the competition were Mayor Blair Milo, celebrity Bunny Fisher, and tenor Warren Moulton. The Master of Ceremonies, Ric Federighi, was entertaining and confident as always. Lee Bauman, Executive Director and co-chair of Hoosier Star, has been involved with the competition since the beginning. She gave some background on the competition.
“It is a vocal competition that started in March,” said Bauman. “All proceeds go back to the La Porte County Symphony Orchestra to help pay for other programs throughout the year.”
Auditions started in March of this year and over a hundred people from all over Indiana and parts of Michigan auditioned for the competition. But only twelve made the cut. The finalists were separated into two categories: youth division (17 years and younger), and adult division (18 years and older).
In the youth division: Hailey Bohlin of Highland, IN; Jordan De Vaney of Avon, IN; Shania Dozier of Kouts, IN; Alexandra Jeffirs of Argos, IN; Miranda Steele of La Porte, IN; and Grace Tarnow of Mill Creek, IN.
In the adult division: Ashley Ault of Lansing, MI; Rick Barnes of La Porte, IN; Thomas Fife of Crown Point, IN; Jordan Gameon of Terre Haute, IN; Mei Yang Laue of South Bend, IN; and Elizabeth Schleicher of Granger, IN.
Those selected were accompanied by the Hoosier Star Orchestra which is a talented group of musicians brought together by Maestro Phil Bauman who is the music director and conductor for the La Porte County Symphony Orchestra. To add more intrigue to the evening, audience members had the power to determine the winners of Hoosier Star via voting for their favorite vocalist. Winners from the adult division won $1,000 for first place and $500 for second place, and winners from the youth division received $500 for first place and $250 for second place.
And the winners were...(drum roll, please)
Thomas Fife for the adult division with his rendition of “Mama”, and Mei Yang Laue won second place with her song, “Maylia”! Grace Tarnow was the winner of the youth division. She sang the soulful ballad “Temporary Home”, and Hailey Bohlin claimed second by belting out “Something’s Got a Hold on Me”!
Shania Dozier performed “Break Away” and received the Rising Star Award for her excellent representation of STAR qualities which are enthusiasm, dedication, appreciation for the arts, a positive attitude, and a good work ethic. The Rising Star Award was created in memory of Joe Mellen, the Master of Ceremonies for the Hoosier Star from 2006 to 2010. There were special performances given by Jenny Madrigal -2011 youth division winner, and Betsy Archer -2011 adult division winner as well.
“I’d say that 75% of the people come here because of the finalists,” said Bauman. “They come from all over Indiana. They come from all walks of life. And for many of them this is their first time to La Porte, so this is a wonderful boost to our tourism here which was a side-effect that I didn’t expect.”
All of the finalists performed beautifully and left the audience in a state of blissful elation. It’s always wonderful to bare witness those who are musically inclined.
Gold Star Sponsors for Hoosier Star: NIPSCO, Horizon Bank.
Silver Star Sponsors: BUKVA Imaging, WIMS Radio, Michigan City News Dispatch, La Porte Herald-Argus.
Prize Money Sponsors: Kingsbury Elevator, Inc.