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9:47 PM Sun, Nov. 18th

New ‘Prescott Idol’ to be crowned at Sept. 1 finale event

07-Taryn-Gates

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier

07-Taryn-Gates

Everyone from Ray Charles to Martina McBride to Michael Jackson will be channeled this week, when the Prescott Idol finale takes to the stage of the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center.

The event, which features karaoke performances by local talent, will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, at the college’s Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St.

Melissa Byrne, regional manager of Grenax Broadcasting and the coordinator of the Idol competition, said the finale will feature 18 to 25 of the top performers from the Idol competitions that have taken place throughout the summer.

“We have seven weeks of regular competition,” Byrne said, noting that the top two finishers from each week advance to the finale. Then, other top contenders are asked back for August wildcard events, which help to fill out the roster for the finale.

Already, Byrne said she has received requests from finalists for musical selections such as the soul sound of Ray Charles, the pop tunes of Ed Sheeran, and the country pop of Martina McBride.

Prescott Idol has taken place for years as a part of the Prescott Summer Concert Series on the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza. The competition regularly occupies the Thursday night slot in a lineup that also includes jazz on Tuesdays, the Central Arizona Concert Band on alternating Thursdays, and rock and blues bands on Fridays.

Previously coordinated by the City of Prescott, the concert series was turned over this year to the Prescott Downtown Partnership (PDP).

The chance to sing in front of hundreds of spectators in downtown Prescott has grown in popularity through the years, Byrne said. “It’s a little bigger this year; we ran out of space earlier than usual,” she said of the singers signing up to perform in the Idol competition. “Every year, it just gets bigger and bigger.”

Kathy August, who managed the Summer Concert Series this year for the PDP, says the Idol competitions regularly bring out large crowds. “It’s a good event,” August said. “Even on cooler nights, we get 650 to 700 people.”

People often arrive at the courthouse plaza by late afternoon, carrying lawn chairs, to stake out space for the performances, she said, adding, “It’s a very social event.”

PDP Director Kendall Jaspers says the Summer Concert Series was a success this year – once again offering a gathering place in the town’s center.

“I’m impressed with the amount of mostly local people who attend,” Jaspers said, “and I’m surprised at the number of people who are in town and just sort of discover it.”

To deal with the growing demand for tickets to the finale, the event was moved to the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center several years ago. Byrne said the hall’s 1,064 seats generally sell out, or come close.

Along with the competitors in this year’s event, a handful of returning Idol winners will return to sing while the judging is going on, Byrne said.

Tickets to the finale are $8 in advance, and $12 on the day of show. They are available by calling 928-776-2000; stopping by the college box office (1100 E. Sheldon St.) Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; or online at http://www.ycpac.com/7th-annual-prescott-idol-finale/.

By Cindy Barks. Follow her on Twitter @Cindy_Barks. Reach her at 928-445-3333, ext. 2034, or 928-642-0951.