A near capacity crowd at Lenoir Rhyne University’s P.E. Monroe auditorium greeted contestants competing in Hickory Rotary Club’s fifth annual Rotarian Idol fundraiser for local educational initiatives. Auditions in February narrowed the field of contestants to 20 finalists competing for $7,500 in total prize money. Saturday night’s finalists were McKenzie Anderson, Mary Elisabeth Ballard, Lark Bodnar, Mark Bodnar, Serena Cain, Jennifer Canterbury, Jordan B. Cook, Matthew Duane Cook, Emily Cornett, MuSunday Cumberlander, Amber-lee Garcia, Krystal Heffinger, Lindsey Jones, John Randall, Virginia Rush, Savannah Michelle Spencer, Kristopher Wayne Stephens, Jordon Stone, Alex B. Swanson and Lauren Wasmund.
This year’s crop of talented contestants entertained the crowd for nearly two hours. Judging the competition was no easy task. Three judges, John Coffey, LaKeisha Ross and Nathan Hefner, were faced with the difficult task of selecting three prize winners from the twenty contestants who performed. While the judges deliberated, the crowd was entertained by local singer, songwriter and musician, Ulysses Long, who was among the 48 finalists in the seventh season of NBC’s hit show, America’s Got Talent.
Deliberations complete, the prize winners were announced and presented checks by Ronnie Thompson, Rotary District 7670 Governor. First prize of $5,000 was awarded to Jennifer Canterbury. The second place check for $1500 went to Virginia Rush and the third place prize of $500 was presented to Amber-Lee Garcia. Emily Cornett also received a check for $500 as the winner of the “Audience Favorite” vote.
The real winner again was education. In four previous Rotarian Idol competitions Hickory Rotary Club has raised $235,000 for local education initiatives and this year’s fundraiser is expected to raise an additional $70,000+. All proceeds raised go toward scholarships for area students, Hickory City Schools Teacher of the Year awards, and other local educational initiatives in Catawba County, as well as other Rotary International humanitarian efforts. Event proceeds also support Catawba County’s Partnership for Children Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program which provides children who live in Catawba County 1 free book in the mail each month until their 5th birthday!
Hickory Rotary Club would again like to acknowledge and thank this year’s title sponsor Lenoir-Rhyne University. Other major sponsors included Catawba Valley Medical Center, Charter Media, Frye Regional Medical Center, Graystone Eye, Greer Allergy Immunotherapy, HEICO Fasteners, Hickory Daily Record, KICKS 103FM, Lowes Food, Mike Johnson Hickory Toyota, Roasted Tater Restaurant, and Shuford Credit Union. Also meriting special recognition are Hal Row, local radio personality, who served as Master of Ceremonies, Rose Mary Cheek Photography whose outstanding photos documented the event, all the event program advertisers and volunteers, without whose contributions the fundraiser would not have been a success. And of course a special “thank you” to all the contestants and people who purchased tickets to attend the event.
All photos courtesy of Rose Mary Cheek Photography
|First Place Awarded to Jennifer Canterbury|
|Second Place Awarded to Virginia Rush|
|Third Place Awarded to Amber-Lee Garcia|
|Audience Favorite Awarded to Emily Cornett|
Rotarian Idol 2014 winner, Jennifer Canterbury sings “Don’t Rain on my Parade.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Rotarian Idol Contestants Selected
Hickory, NC – February 18, 2014 – Hickory Rotary Club has announced the 20 contestants selected by a panel of judges to compete in the club’s annual musical fundraiser, Rotarian Idol. The event will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 15, in PE Monroe Auditorium on the campus of Lenoir-Rhyne University.
Competing for $7,500 in total prize money will be McKenzie Anderson, Mary Elisabeth Ballard, Lark Bodnar, Mark Bodnar, Serena Cain, Jennifer Canterbury, Jordan B. Cook, Matthew Duane Cook, Emily Cornett, MuSunday Cumberlander, Amber-lee Garcia, Krystal Heffinger, Lindsey Jones, John Randall, Virginia Rush, Savannah Michelle Spencer, Kristopher Wayne Stephens, Jordon Stone, Alex B. Swanson and Lauren Wasmund.
Hickory Rotary Club has announced dates for its musical fundraiser, “ROTARIAN IDOL”. The event will be held Saturday, March 15, at 7:00 pm in PE Monroe Auditorium on the campus of Lenoir-Rhyne University. Auditions will be held at The SALT Block Auditorium from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Feb. 6 and from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 8. There is no limit to age or place of residence, but professional singers [which were paid $600 or more in 2013] will not be allowed to audition. A $5 fee is required.
100% of the money raised will be used to benefit educational needs throughout Catawba county and other humanitarian causes that Rotary supports.
This year’s title sponsor will again be Lenoir-Rhyne University. Other major sponsors are Catawba Valley Medical Center, Charter Media, Frye Regional Medical Center, Graystone Eye, Greer Allergy Immunotherapy, HEICO Fasteners, Hickory Daily Record, KICKS 103FM, Mike Johnson Hickory Toyota, Roasted Tater Restaurant, and Shuford Credit Union.
The successful fundraiser will be co-chaired by Rotarians John Rambo and Sandi Fotheringham; Ticket Sales will be chaired by John Rambo; Advertising Sales chair will be Past-President Steve Mull. Past-President Allen Finley will chair Major Sponsors. Other committee members are: Bruce Bumbarger, David Myers, Jennifer Clark, John Olson, Jonathan Waters, Lamar Mitchell, Lynn Loehr, Kathy Greathouse, Neill McGeachy, Mick Berry, Linda Lutz, Deborah Withey, Jill Patton and Rosemary Cheek.
“Education is very important to our club, and has been since 1921”, “ROTARIAN IDOL” committee member Lamar Mitchell said.
Rambo expects this year’s auction to raise at least $65,000. In past years the Hickory Rotary Club has raised nearly $1 Million through live TV and silent auctions.
To reach this goal, the Rotary Club will sell 1,450 adult tickets at $20 each, and this year children and students with a valid student ID can purchase tickets for $10 each. Advertisements for the Show Program will be sold at $500 for a full-page ad, $250 for a half-page ad and $150 for a quarter-page ad.
A total of 20 contestants will be chosen to compete for $7,500 in total prize money. First Place wins $5,000, Second Place $1,500, Third Place $500; and $500 is awarded to the Audience Favorite. Additionally, several door prizes will be given away to lucky ticket holders. Contestants will be judged by a panel of three music industry professionals. A popular feature was added to the event last year: The public will be able to vote on-line at www.hickoryrotary.org for their favorite contestant.
“ROTARIAN IDOL” replaces the popular “Education Alive” television auction, which the Rotary Club used to raise funds for education for five years. Students continue to utilize monies raised from the successful event.
“It’s exciting to know that we’ve already made a $200,000 impact on education for everyone in the county”, Finley said
Hickory Rotary Club has hosted Rotarian Idol from 2010 -2013. To view results and performance videos from previous contests use this link: Hickory Rotarian Idol 2010 – 2013.
For more information about this year’s event, visit www.hickoryrotary.org, call John Rambo, Chair, at 327-3855 x 113 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Allen Finley at 324-6700, or email email@example.com.