If you are a fan of America’s Got Talent, X Factor or Glee, then you will enjoy the twist on this year’s upcoming Harmony 4 Women performance. This community event features women of all ages, from tweens to seniors, singing popular songs acappella (without instrumentation) for their October 13 matinee performance at Bend High.
As in past years, the Harmony chorus “sings for its sisters,” for the event benefits four non-profits that support, enrich and provide safety for women. This year however, audience members will participate, not by singing, but by voting for their favorite among four young vocalists in the Rising Star Vocal Contest. The four finalists will share $2,000 in cash awards, donated by an anonymous benefactor, and include: Felicia Zondonatti, 2012 graduate of Sisters High School; Kilen Multop, 2012 graduate of Mountain View High School; Kaitlyn McKenney, Class of 2013, Mountain View High School; and Sierra Lantz, Class of 2013 Bend High School.
The Rising Star Vocal Contest has been underway for almost a year. When accomplished singer Dana Barron, part of a Portland-based Sweet Adelines’ group and a founding member of Bella Acappella Harmony, suggested a high school talent contest as part of Harmony 4 Women, choral members jumped on the idea.
Initial auditions of 19 student applicants were held in May before an audience of Bella Acappella members and Harmony 4 Women mentor, Ramy Louis. With helpful written feedback from director Connie Norman, the semi-finalists performed again last month before the Harmony 4 Women Chorus. As part of the Harmony 4 Women show, the Rising Star finalists will sing solos and sing with Bella Acappella Harmony. The audience will vote upon their favorite soloist to determine their place and an honorarium will be granted to the first place singer’s high school music department.
Each of the young singers has a story. A Freshman at Brigham Young University, Felicia Zondonatti grew up as the youngest of six in a family in which music was always present, in her father’s band and at church. She hopes to broaden her scope to include theater and dance at college.
Sierra Lantz, 17, plans to pursue singing and songwriting after graduation, and says, “It’s a different experience every time I step on stage depending on the song I‘m singing and the vibe I’m getting from the audience. It’s an unexplainable feeling.”
Kilen Multop, who graduated high school as a junior, not only sings but also plays the piano, guitar, bass guitar and saxophone. Multop’s favorite artists is Bono, whom he says “can take a simple lyric or sound and own it, communicating at a level beyond lyrics and beat.”
Kaitlyn McKenney, a senior at Mountain View High, loves the individual styles of James Morrison, Adele and Michael Buble because they’re not afraid to evolve from modern music formats. McKenney’s big dream is to be on a giant stage singing in front of thousands.
Harmony 4 Women will perform its concert of popular and inspiring songs at Bend High School on Saturday, October 13, at 3pm. The program includes performances by Bella Acappella Harmony Chorus, the Rising Star Finalists and Harmony 4 Women.
The event benefits four organizations: Grandma’s House, Saving Grace, the Women’s Resource Center of Central Oregon and Bella Acappella Harmony Chorus. $10 tickets purchased through chorus members or online at www.harmony4women.com.