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ALEX MEADE WINS 2016 BIG SANDY IDOL

Alex Meade, of Betsy Layne High School, was crowned the winner of the 2016 Big Sandy Idol Regional Competition on Saturday, March 12 at the Mountain Arts Center.  Shown are: Candace Kelly, assistant director of fine arts at Big Sandy Community and Technical College; Maranda Finney, the 2015 Big Sandy Idol winner; Meade and Clayton Case, director of fine arts at BSCTC.  Alex Meade did it my, well his, way.

Meade, a senior at Betsy Layne High School, performed his version of Frank Sinatras My Way flawlessly to win the 10th annual Big Sandy Idol Regional Competition on Saturday, March 12 at the Mountain Arts Center.

I did it my way, Meade said with a smile while signing autographs after the competition. I was surprised when they called my name. All of the performers were incredible and deserving to be here.

Presented by Gearheart Communications and Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC), Big Sandy Idol celebrated its 10th anniversary in grand style. A group of founding members of the Big Sandy Singers performed on both nights of the competition.

The founding members of the Big Sandy Singers really paved the way for this, said Clayton Case, who serves as director of fine arts at BSCTC. Laura [Ford Hall] and Tim [Cooley] took an idea and morphed it into something that has benefited countless students, myself included.

The founding Big Sandy Singers who participated were: Laura Ford Hall, Tim Cooley, Frances Hackney, Troy Burchett, Ryan Shepherd, Dustin Newsome, Brandon Maynard, Reca Maynard, Beth Castle, Chesi Spriggs, Susan Scott, Candace Kelly and Clayton Case.
Since its inception, more than 1,200 students have performed at Big Sandy Idol shows at area high schools and the Mountain Arts Center. BSCTC has awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships to deserving students to participate in the Big Sandy Singers and Band.

Karlie Sincell, of Phelps High School, was crowned the wild card winner on Friday, March 11 and earned a spot in the final round on Saturday, March 12. Belfry High Schools Payton Trout was first-runner-up and Ally Davis, of Prestonsburg High School, was second runner-up.

Colby OBryan, of Allen Central High School, won the Big Sandy Idol essay contest. East Ridge High Schools Chelsie Hatfield and Lauren Dotson, of Phelps High School, were named crowd favorites on March 11 and March 12, respectively.

Judges for this years competition were David Tahere, an assistant professor of music at Covenant College; Chery Brendel, a voice instructor at Lee University; Ron Brendel, associate professor of music at Lee University; and Heather Gearheart, mediation attorney for Gearheart Communications.

Ron Brendel is the voice coach for NBCs The Voice winner Jordan Smith.

The musical talent in eastern Kentucky is second to none, said BSCTC President Dr. Devin Stephenson. A classically trained pianist, Dr. Stephenson performed with the Big Sandy Singers and Band on both nights during the regional competition. Were proud to advocate for the arts across our region and provide high school students the opportunity to display their talents on a stage such as this.

Case said the Big Sandy Idol Regional Competition would not be possible without the support of Gearheart Communications.

Gearheart Communications and the Gearheart family have a long-standing history of supporting our college and the work we do, said Case. Big Sandy Idol would not be possible without their support and generosity.

Other sponsors for this years event included: Food City, Orange Leaf of Pikeville, Pepsi Bottling Group and Dr. Lee Boyd.