Voice of the Heartland

September 25, 2018

Annual Competition to Benefit Norman Arts Community

by Chelsey Kraft

Do you have what it takes to be the next Voice of the Heartland? Then it’s time to sign up for Norman’s annual vocal competition, presented by The Sooner Theatre and Hal Smith Restaurant Group.

Local talent as well as artists from all over the region will showcase their voices as they vie for $1,000 in cash and additional prizes, said Nancy Coggins, the theatre’s public relations and development director.

The competition is open to participants in three age categories: 7 – 12, 13 – 17, and 18 and up. Performing music from any genre, competitors can participate as a soloist, a duet, a trio or a quartet.

In the competition’s first round, participants must submit a video audition. From these 3-minute or less videos, a panel will select semifinalists from each age group to compete in a preliminary event at the theatre on Sept. 24.

“I don’t know how the judges choose because there’s a whole lot of talent here,” Coggins said. “It’s fun, and I would encourage anyone who is a singer to jump online and see what the criteria is and submit a video before the submissions close.”

The top 10 performers from the semifinal round will move to the finals and perform at a fundraising gala held on Sept. 27 at Southwind Hills. The community is invited to attend and have their say in who will be the next Voice of the Heartland. The audience’s votes are combined with the judges’ scores to choose the winner.

The event benefits The Studio of The Sooner Theatre by helping to fund the purchase and renovation of the studio’s new location.

On the panel this year is Grammy Award winner Linda Davis, who will serve as guest judge. Davis, the mother of Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott, will hold an opry-style concert at The Sooner Theatre on Sept. 21 with the 2017 Voice of the Heartland, Bailey Churchill, opening for her. Davis will also hold Vocal Performance 101 workshops on Sept. 22 and 23 for aspiring singers.

To learn more about the competition or to enter, visit www.voiceoftheheartland.org. Video auditions must be submitted by Sept. 17, and the cost per entry is $35. Tickets for the Davis concert are available for $20 to $25, and general admission tickets for the semifinal competition can be purchased for $15 each. Those interested in attending the finals fundraiser, which includes the show, dinner and a silent auction, can buy tickets for $100 per person or $800 per table.

In addition to Voice of the Heartland, The Sooner Theatre season includes a full slate of shows and concerts, as well as camps and classes for kids. Tickets for Sooner Theatre’s theatrical season are available at www.soonertheatre.org, with musicals “Hairspray,” “A Christmas Story” and “Nunsense” on the upcoming schedule.

“We’re a community theatre,” Coggins said. “But we’re not just a community theatre, we’re a theatre for our community … We’re proud to be a part of an arts community that thrives here in Norman.”– BSM