‘Brandon Idol’ contest lures crowd to town hall

BRANDON — The Brandon Town Hall was packed on Saturday night as residents from all around gathered to listen to amateur singers from as far away as White River Junction perform for a chance to be a finalist in the Brandon Idol competition.
About 200 people paid to see 22 singers strut their stuff under the lights of the Town Hall stage as they competed to be one of the Final 9. The competitors came from a diverse background and performed a wide range of music.
“We had 188 paid attendees and we had some folks who arrived late and then we had cheerleaders selling goodies and all of the singers and staff,” organizer Colleen Wright said. “I would say there was easily 250 people at the Town Hall on a night when it was -3 degrees out.”
Carol Reed, Shannon Bohler and Thomas Peppard were the judges who whittled the competitors down from the starting 22 to the nine who will move on to sing in a series of events that will be held each month, leading up to the town carnival in June where the winner will receive a $1,000 grand prize. Moving forward, the singers will be given a different musical genre to sing from in each of the next events. On Feb. 16, they will be singing Broadway songs.
Audience members on Saturday night were treated to great performances from all the competitors and at the end they voted on their fan favorite — Jess Crossman, from Goshen, who sang a striking rendition of the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah,” and was selected as one of the nine who will move on to the next round.
In addition to Crossman, Kai Wanner, Holly Mugford-Birmingham, Kayla Passione, Logan Shaddock, Saige King, Rachel Bregoli, Emily Doty, and Kimberlee Simons made the cut.
“I was blown away by the performances,” Wright said. “They were beyond what I imagined and I’m glad I wasn’t a judge.”
After the performance, many of the audience and some of the singers made their way to the Center Street bar. Wright said on Feb. 16, after the singers perform their Broadway songs, the American Legion will be holding a dance so people can keep on having fun.

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