The Heafner/Williams Vocal Competition starts out with nine hopeful, bright-eyed singers. Over the course of a weekend that number gets whittled down and in the end there can be only one.
This weekend marks the third year of the competition that kicks off Friday night at the Lincoln Cultural Center.
The event begins with a concert given by last yearâ€™s winner, Samantha Staton.
â€œOf course she is absolutely wonderful because she won,â€ said Valerie King, executive director of the Lincoln Cultural Center. â€œBut this year she did a program for the Lincolnton High School chorus and she came over to practice in the center. You would not believe the growth in one year in confidence and in her singing.â€
Stanton and Markus Beam, another former winner, have both participated in regional auditions for the Metropolitan Opera. Only four audition spots are available for the New York City auditions.
â€œ(The competition) is becoming rich in the high quality of singers,â€ said King.
This yearâ€™s competitors were chosen based on audition tapes, background information and a black and white head shot. Anyone in a 29-county area could enter.
A total of nine were chosen to compete in the event â€“ six women and three men. Many of the contestants are in college and all are in their 20s.
Fridayâ€™s Winnerâ€™s Concert begins at 7:30 p.m and will be followed by a reception.
The semifinals take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Each vocalist is given 15 minutes to perform. Finals take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
All performances will be held in the Timken Performance Hall at the Lincoln Cultural Center. They are free and open to the public.
For more information call 704-732-9055.
A photograph was not available for contestant Lauren Smith. by Sarah Grano