Lincoln County native Alexandria McNeely performs during the finals Heafner-Williams Vocal Competition on Sunday at the Cultural Center.

The 17th annual Heafner-Williams Vocal Competition was held over the weekend at the Lincoln Cultural Center.

Seventeen vocalists from the Carolinas and Virginia competed in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Among them were two Lincoln County natives, Alexandria McNeely and Bailey Beam.

McNeely is a senior at Lenoir-Rhyne University (LRU). After graduation, she’ll choose between Florida State University’s College of Music or the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.

McNeely started singing at around four years old. She sang in her church choir and started singing with the LRU Youth Choir as a middle schooler.

Beam, also a senior at LRU, majors in Vocal Performance and Sacred music. She started singing in the children’s choir at Cedar Grove Lutheran Church in Vale. Like, McNeely she joined the LRU Youth Choir in middle school. She plans to pursue a masters degree in teaching, but isn’t sure yet exactly what she wants to do.  

“Lincolnton has lots of really cool things, but this is something that’s very different from all those other things,” Beam said. “I think it’s really great and it’s really exciting. It’s something that I really love and I love Lincolnton. So the fact that it’s here in Lincolnton is really cool.”

McNeely’s performance on Saturday earned her a spot in the finals on Sunday. She was the first of the six finalists to perform.

Ultimately, McNeely walked away with an Encouragement award.

Baritone Andrew René took first place, James Smidt took second, and Adrian Smith and Kathleen Felty tied for third.

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