For student vocalists, a chance to become idolized

Ira Allen Chapel was the stage for a battle of vocal talent Sunday, which began as students from different residence halls competed for the title of UVM Idol.The contest marked the trial run of the competition, one that the Inter-Residence Association (IRA) hopes will become an annual event. IRA is the student organization for on campus residence halls that provides a voice for the residential students, according to IRA’s Web site.”The IRA never had a big event in the fall,” Melissa Martin, IRA president said. She hopes that having a big event earlier in the year, it will help promote IRA. Just as Battle of the Bands showcases the musical talent of UVM’s students, so too does UVM Idol aim to give students a chance to showcase their vocal talents. “I’m a big fan of American Idol,” Steven Fenton, IRA Director of Finance said. “We thought that it’ll be a nice thing to see what UVM has to offer for vocal talent, not just bands.” With 11 different residence complexes across campus, IRA planned for 11 students to compete at the contest on Sunday. To determine which students would have the honor of representing their residence halls, each dorm held its own “mini-Idol.” However, “the timing conflicted with break, so not a lot of people showed up,” Martin said. Indeed, for Jeanne Mance’s mini- Idol, literally no one came. Because IRA receives funding that can only be used for the residence halls, off campus students are prevented from competing in the contest. “I think we have an even mix between first years and sophomores, and it goes with the fact that it had to be residence complexes,” Fenton said. “We’re not allowed to have off campus students.” At the contest, three judges sat in the front of the stage and offered feedback and critiques of the performers, who were allowed to interact with the audience. The judging panel consisted of Bill Reed, the musical theatre performance instructor for the theatre department, Amber DeLaurentis, jazz vocal instructor for the music department and Alvin Sturdivant, assistant director of residential life. Martin and Fenton hope that if UVM Idol is a success, other organizations will want to get involved and then off campus students can be included. With a variety of songs and genres, performers from different backgrounds and Sweet Pete from co-sponsor 95 Triple X emceeing the event, students can expect to have a lot of fun, Martin and Fenton said before the contest.”[Sweet Pete] will be the Ryan of the show … in a very different way,” Fenton said,referring to American Idol’s host, Ryan Seacrest. “The first place prize is something anybody who likes to sing will love,” said Fenton. Erica Bruno, the winner of this year’s UVM Idol, proved her love of singing and took home an antique microphone as the firstprize.