Big Sandy Idol started eight years as a way to showcase talented vocalists.
It’s turned into the premiere talent showcase in eastern Kentucky.
The Big Sandy Idol regional competition will take place March 7-8 at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg. Thirty-four up-and-coming entertainers will take the stage in the two-night event, which culminates in the crowning of the Big Sandy Idol.
“It’s just very exciting for all of us,” said Clayton Case, director of Fine Arts at Big Sandy Community and Technical College. “Every year, the event gets bigger and better, and it seems like weeks following the show, we are already making plans for the next year.”
Big Sandy Idol started in 2006 as an idea to showcase high school vocalists within the BSCTC service area. “It’s widely known that our region is home to some of the most dynamic artists in the genres of country music,” Case added. “We wanted to provide a stage for young artists to compete and be heard.”
The idea was an instant success. Big Sandy Idol not only provided a regional platform to compete on the stage at the Mountain Arts Center, it provided the college’s Big Sandy Singers a recruiting tool. The Big Sandy Singers is an elite, auditioned group of BSCTC students that perform throughout the region. The singers are also ambassadors of the college and work closely in recruitment efforts at local high schools.
“The Big Sandy Singers is why I am here,” said Case, who was a part of the group from 2004 to 2006. Case also performed with the Kentucky Opry from 2000 to 2008. “I think it is important to provide our youth with different avenues to build on their talents.”
Big Sandy Idol has morphed into much more than a regional talent competition. More than 500 students compete in school-based auditions and two performers (a winner and runner-up) are selected from each school to compete in the regional competition.
Throughout the year, the Big Sandy Singers hosts vocal camps and workshops for students to grow their talent.
“The talent in our high schools absolutely amaze me every year,” said Case. “Just when you think it cannot get better, it does.”
The best part about the Big Sandy Idol program is it allows students the opportunity to build on their skills as part of the Big Sandy Singers. Since its inception, the Big Sandy Idol and Big Sandy Singers program have awarded more than 60 full scholarships to BSCTC.
“It’s about providing students the opportunity to showcase their talent, but it’s also about showing them how important education is as well,” Case added. Former Big Sandy Singers have gone on to finish college and are successful in many fields, including music.
Case has big plans for Big Sandy Idol and the Big Sandy Singers program. This year, he expanded the Big Sandy Singers to include three musicians in hopes of having a full band accompany the vocal group in the future. This year, Big Sandy Idol allowed contestants to play an instrument as well.
“The future is bright,” said Case.
For more information on Big Sandy Idol or the Big Sandy Singers program, contact Case at (606) 886-7388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To purchase tickets for Big Sandy Idol, call 1-888-MAC-ARTS or visit www.macarts.com.