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Local talent takes to the stage this weekend

Local talent will take to the stage this weekend at the Lincoln Cultural Center.
For the third year the Heafner/Williams Vocal Competition will offer cash awards to area singers.
The weekend of music will begin Friday night at 7:30 with An Old Fashioned Variety Show in the reception hall of the Cultural Center.
Last year’s show included magic by Lincolnton’s Rick Ramseur. New surprises and local talent will be highlighted in this year’s show.
Reservations are required.
Markus Beam, the 2003 winner of the competition, will put on a show Saturday night at 7:30 in the performance hall.
Beam has racked up awards from The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, The Opera Index Competition and The James Parkinson Italian Opera Competition. He was also named a district and regional winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Before coming home to Lincolnton this weekend, he is wrapping up a competition in New York City.
This year’s vocalists will compete on stage Sunday beginning at 3 p.m. at the center.
Judges and the public will observe as they compete for cash prizes. Competitors include the following:
Rory S. Dunn, a 21-year-old student in the bachelor of fine arts musical theater program at Catawba College. He has performed with the Hickory Community Theater, the Lincoln Theatre Guild, the Greater Shelby Community Theater and Gardner-Webb University.
Kathryn Ford Graham, a 24-year-old graduate of Appalachian State University with a bachelor of music in voice performance with a concentration in sacred music. A soprano, she has a certification in music education and is a music educator in Lincoln County at Pumpkin Center Elementary School.
Elizabeth Murphy, a 21-year-old student majoring in music theater and vocal performance at Bryan College in Tennessee. She has performed in state and national 4-H talent shows as well as the Green Room in Newton and toured Europe, the Bahamas and the U.S. as a soloist with her college choir.
Lakiesha Ross, a 21-year-old junior pursuing a communications degree with a minor in music from Lenoir-Rhyne College. She is president of the Lenoir-Rhyne A Capella Choir and is a member of the Playmakers, the College Singers Ensemble as well as the jazz and concert bands.
Ryan Sigmon, a 21-year-old senior at Lenoir-Rhyne College. He has studied voice for five years, the last two with Artist in Residence, Professor Judith Burbank. He is a children’s choir director and youth praise team leader at Bethany Lutheran Church in Hickory.
Samantha Staton, a 23-year-old graduate of Gardner-Webb University with a bachelor of arts in sacred music. She is a member of Opera Carolina and teaches as an adjunct instructor of voice at GWU. She has performed regionally and internationally including the Charlotte Civic Orchestra’s production of “Messiah.”
The Heafner/Williams Vocal Competition debuted in 2002, hosted by nationally-known opera singer Carolyn Heafner and her musical partner and husband, Robert Williams.
Heafner, a Lincoln County native, said she hopes to recognize local talent and expand the event into an arts festival weekend.
The competition and adjoining events are free and open to the public. For information, or reservations for the variety show, call 704-732-9055.by Diane Turbyfill

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