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July 12, 2012

Hart’s ‘Love’ wins The Vocalist contest at Vigo County Fair

New competition proves to be a success

TERRE HAUTE — The competition was heated, but Marcia Hart’s fans proved they had the greatest love of all.

Hart’s rendition of the Whitney Houston hit “The Greatest Love of All” earned top honors in this year’s The Vocalist, a new singing competition hosted at the Vigo County 4-H Fair inside the Grandstand.

Hart, a Hamilton Center employee, sings locally with Illusion, and said after the contest she hopes to advance her musical career.

“I thought everybody was great,” she said of the 10 contestants who competed in Wednesday evening’s finals. “And I want to get names and numbers because I want to start a band, and I want everyone to be in it,” she laughed.

As champion, Hart receives 10 hours of recording and mixing time with FTC Productions, as well as 100 compact discs of her finished product.

The Vocalist was presented by The Conservatory of Music and FTC Productions. Owner Ron Cook said the latter will feature a recording studio where artists can produce their own music from start to finish.

“The studio should be up and running the first of August,” he said, noting the organization can supply studio musicians as well.

Competition rounds for The Vocalist began in May, and Cook said the supply of local talent made for a good contest.

“I will tell you, it’s been a tough decision all the rounds,” he said.

Host Eric Michaels of WTHI said the fact that competitors had to perform with a live band made it real. Instructors from The Conservatory of Music filled in as the house band with a supply of saxophones, trumpets, guitars, keyboards and drums, performing music from artists spanning Miranda Lambert to The Righteous Brothers. Rehearsal time was quite limited, Michaels said, remarking this made for a more challenging performance.

“This is not a glorified karaoke contest,” he said.

Jimmie Carsey earned second place with an original song, “Lilly White Homeboy,” and Cheyenne Chaplain took third with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” Both will receive recording time and compact discs at FTC Productions.

Jennifer Cook, president of the Vigo County Fair board, dubbed the inaugural event a success and one likely to return.

“We’re getting plans ready for next year,” she said, adding there’s still plenty to do at the Fair through Saturday.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or

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