American Idol-mania is still ringing in the air

WHALLONSBURG - On Thursday, June 18, the newly renovated Whallonsburg Grange will celebrate its reopening with the first night of its "Whallonsburg Idol" singing competition series, which will run from June 18 to July 18, following the rules and format of "American Idol."

Anybody, amateur or professional, young or old, from the Westport-Willsboro-Essex triangle and adjoining towns, may participate in the contest. Experienced talent judges will move performers through audition nights, then through five themed performance nights, with themes provided to performers in advance for creating their own accompaniment CDs.

On Friday, July 17, judges will choose their nine favorites, three from each of three different age groups: 19 and older, ages 13-18, and kindergarten to age 12. These nine Whallonsburg finalists will have qualified to compete in the Essex County Fair "Idol Contest" in August against leaders from separate Idol contests in Ticonderoga, Keeseville and Keene. Then after the Essex County Fair, Essex County's winners will have qualified to compete in the NY State Fair against winners from other counties.

Then, on Saturday, July 18, the judges, including a mystery judge, will choose a "Whallonsburg Idol Grand Champion" from the final nine favorite performers. The grand champion from Whallonsburg Grange will be offered travel assistance to represent the Whallonsburg Grange Hall and local community in the national "American Idol" auditions held in Boston later this year.

Pre-registration is requested before the June 18-20 audition nights. For a pre-registration form and competition rules and information, send an e-mail to WGIdolContest@yahoo.com, or to Devin Martin at ItsDMart@yahoo.com.

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