419 Sings talent contest underway


Marathon Center for the Performing Arts (MCPA), in collaboration with United Way of Hancock County (UWHC), invites vocalists and bands from the 419-area code to submit a short sample of their music for a chance to participate in the 419 Sings virtual talent competition sponsored by First National Bank.

Sixteen finalists will be selected to compete against each other through a virtual platform over a five-week period beginning in September for the chance to win: $2,500; a recording studio session with Stone Soup Recording Studio in Maumee; and their own live performance at the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts.

“MCPA actively seeks out new talent and we look forward to shining a light on our regional musicians, both known and yet-to-be-discovered,” says Heather Clow, executive director of the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts.

“The pandemic hit us all hard last year, especially human services and the arts. Both are equally vital to build a thriving community,” said Angela DeBoskey, CEO of United Way, “This project allows us to work together to improve our community and reminds us that together we are stronger.”

There is no cost to submit, and potential participants must be at least 18-years old and live in one of the 419 area code counties.

For detailed submission instructions, visit liveunitedhancockcounty.org/419Sings through Aug. 13.

The top 30 performances will be selected by a panel organized by MCPA, United Way, and First National Bank the week of Aug. 16. Those 30 performances will then be reviewed by a distinguished panel of industry-connected judges who will select the 16 participants for the 419 Sings competition.

Judges reviewing the top 30 submissions are: John “Scott” Lavender, professional musician, and music educator with over 40 years in the industry and 30 years as musical director for musicians such as Johnny Mathis, Toni Tennille, and Glen Yarbrough; Donna S. Collins, Ohio Arts Council executive director and board member of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies; Michael Cavanaugh, musician and Broadway performer hand-picked by Billy Joel to star in the musical Movin’ Out; Sam Bartlett, talent agent with ICM Partners, New York, N.Y.; Marielle Kraft, Nashville singer, songwriter, and winner of the 2018 Mid Atlantic Songwriting Competition.

The competition begins Wednesday, Sept. 15, during a Facebook live event, when the 16 finalists and their submissions are revealed, and the public is invited to view and vote for their favorite performance on the United Way website. One dollar equals one vote, and the public may vote as many times as they want. The following Wednesday, the eight receiving the most votes will continue to the next round, and the cycle will repeat until the winner is selected on Wednesday, Oct. 13.

All proceeds from the event will benefit MCPA and United Way and its partner agencies.