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Dave Zajac Record-Journal
Gabrielle Baker, 15, of Southington performs after winning the 2011 Southington Icon competition during the Southington Apple Harvest Festival Sunday afternoon October 9, 2011. Baker won the grand prize of $1000.00 in cash and recording time at Onyx Recording Studios. (Dave Zajac/Record-Journal)

Singers prepare for noteworthy opportunity

SOUTHINGTON — This coming weekend singers from around Connecticut will have the opportunity to audition for Connecticut Icon, a competition held during the Southington Apple Harvest Festival next month.

Auditions will be held Saturday at Derynoski Elementary School, beginning at 10 a.m. and running until late afternoon, said Melissa Ericksen-Salmon, Apple Harvest sponsorship coordinator.

“This is the fifth year,” Ericksen-Salmon said. “The first year we had a winner from Meriden, and last year’s winner was from New Britain.”

Connecticut Icon hopefuls will perform a song of their choice a cappella, said Apple Harvest Committee chairman Christopher Palmieri.

“The auditions are a cappella and you get to hear the matureness of the voices,” Ericksen-Salmon said. “It’s exciting.”

Auditions will run through the morning, with a second round in the afternoon. After the second round, 12 finalist will be chosen to compete at the Apple Harvest Festival.

Ericksen-Salmon said she never knows how many will audition.

“I have a feeling this year we will have a bigger turnout,” she said. “It’s amazing how many people in Connecticut have a gift.”

Previously, the competition was called Southington Icon, but Ericksen-Salmon said she received many phone calls asking if the event was open to people outside of town. The name was changed last year to Connecticut Icon to make it clearer that the competition is open to all state residents, she said.

Participants must be at least 9 years old to enter.

The Apple Harvest Festival takes place on the first two weekends in October. The competition begins on Oct. 5 at 5:15 p.m., and the first elimination round is Oct. 6. More elimination rounds follow on the following weekend. The Connecticut Icon winner is selected on Oct. 13, at 12:45 p.m.

The performers are judged by a three-member panel, including Town Councilor Dawn Miceli.

“The competition truly draws some unbelievable, talented performers into the community,” she said. 203-317-2275 Twitter: @ssavanimal

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