Talent search

Hunt is under way for
potential stars in Carroll County, Ky

Oldham, Carroll counties,
Madison get into 'the act'

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(April 2010) – Tanisha House entered the Oldham Icon talent contest on the suggestion of a co-worker. She was surprised when she won, having not competed in such shows for several years.

Tanisha House

Photo courtesy of Tori Favier

Tanisha House of Louisville was
chosen as the 2010 Oldham Icon at
the Showcase Oldham County in March.

An employee of Citizens Union Bank in La Grange, Ky., House had pursued a professional career in signing for nine years before “deciding I wanted a family,” she said. House, 29, currently lives in St. Matthews but is originally from Pennsylvania.
Her original song, “Heavenly,” was enough to impress the judges and her fans, declaring her the winner of the Oldham Icon talent contest on March 13. The contest was sponsored by the Oldham County Chamber of Commerce. The talent contest was part of this year’s Showcase Oldham County.
In the past, House has written and co-written songs with others. She co-wrote and composed the music to “Heavenly.”
“Our 2010 Icon contestants were amazing, ranging in age from 14 to 50- and over, and covering a wide variety of musical genres,” said Tori Favier, office manager for the Oldham Chamber & Economic Development. “The show offered something for everyone. Showcase Oldham County celebrates local businesses, services and community organizations. There is no better place to honor our local talent as well.”
Such talent competitions are on the rise, gaining popularity everywhere and in every community. House said, “A lot of people enjoy signing and music, and the thrill of being in a competition. They also like to hear what others have to say about their talent.”
Carroll County is no exception. Chamber officials there are gearing up for the “Carroll County’s Got Talent” contest. On the last Wednesday of every month through July, auditions will be held at the Carroll County Public Library. The overall winner will be selected at the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Awards Banquet on Aug. 19.
“Last year, in lieu of hiring a speaker, the Chamber decided to host the talent contest to showcase the local talent of our community,” said Bret Calhoun, resource assistant for the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and Community Development Corporation. “After all, that is what we’re all about: community involvement and community pride.”
Money raised from the banquet goes toward scholarships that are awarded to Carroll County High School seniors. “I think the reason we have had success with this is the pride that comes with the accomplishment of a job well done, and also the popularity of shows such as American Idol and America’s Got Talent,” said Calhoun.
The economy was also a factor and forced the chamber to rethink the way they accomplish things.
As an example, “instead of paying for a national speaker to come in, we changed the focus to local talent,” said Mark Smith, board president for the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce.
“In the end, we sold more tickets to the event (we believe because of the local flavor), and were able to reduce expenses of the banquet,” said Smith. “It really turned out to be a win-win situation for the community and the chamber.”
Calhoun has received several phone calls from individuals interested in trying out for this year’s contest, and has contacted local schools to spread the word. He is hopeful several individuals will apply before the end of April.
Judges for the contest are usually people from the community, local politicians and members of Civic Groups or clubs. “Contestants are judged on performance, poise, confidence, enthusiasm, costume-outfit and overall effectiveness of the performance,” Calhoun said.
“Talent shows appeal to a wide demographic and are a great way for ordinary people to share their extraordinary abilities,” said Favier. “Friendly competition is always fun to watch.”
The Oldham Icon talent contest was considered a success. “We are always working toward new ways to enhance our annual Showcase event to benefit our business exhibitors and the public. The Oldham Icon contest was an added draw for the community,” Favier said.
It also provided a great opportunity for the Showcase exhibitors and sponsors, in addition to exposing outstanding local vocal talent, she said. There were 27 contestants who auditioned, and nineteen finalists at the showcase. “They put on a wonderful show,” said Favier.
Madison, Ind., had its own “Madison’s Got Talent,” which was part of last year’s Madison Bicentennial Celebration. “It was very successful,” said Jan Vetrhus, chairwoman of the Madison Bicentennial. The winner received a trophy and $250.
There were some amazing talents, she said, and many were surprised to find that their friends and neighbors were capable of such talent. The winner and runner-up performed prior to Rusty Bladen’s headlining concert at the Laser Light Firework Show on June 13.
“Anyone could sign up for the contest,” said Vetrhus. “It was a nice way to see if a wider audience appreciated you as much as your fans and friends.”

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