Juniors Bliss and Crutcher, Johnson bring home title of "L-S Idol"

Since December, students have been working on preparing songs for the annual L-S Idol competition, which the Strasburg Area Women's Association hosts each year.

At the high school level, junior Sarah Johnson won the solo competition while a duet by juniors Lauren Bliss and Ashley Crutcher won the duets category.

L-S students from any of the grade levels are welcome to participate in the vocal competition. Contestants were required to hand in applications by December of last year and then attend an official audition in front of a board of local celebrity judges in January. The panel of judges, presiding over the final competition, consisted of Christina Olindo, Carroll Staub, Todd Fulginiti, Ron McVey, Katie Wieand, and Stephen Englehart. Lisa Horn was the event’s emcee.

The competition began with the elementary division. These very talented students proved that age does not hinder success. Performers included fifth graders Elly Brunner and Tanner Emmerling, singing “Side by Side” and “Quiet”, respectively. The youngest competitor, third grade student Ellie Rhinier sang “Maybe” from the musical Annie.

So unbelievably proud of my beautiful daughter's performance at the finals of L-S Idol tonight. She looked breathtaking and sounded like an angel.
Posted by Shelley Henry on Saturday, March 19, 2016

Five middle school finalists followed. All of these contestants have experience performing with local theaters such as the Fulton, Cavod Academy, Sight and Sound, and Martin Meylin’s production of Little Mermaid, Jr. Several are also L-S Idol veterans. Josiah Bender, an eighth grade student, opened with “Better Than I” from the DreamWorks movie Joseph: King of Dreams. Maddie Ciliento, also in eighth grade, performed the popular song “Hallelujah” with lyrics altered to reflect Jesus’ birth and life. Hannah Miller, a seventh grader, performed the first real pop song of the night, “One Step at a Time”, written by Jordin Sparks. Maya Bowman sang “We’re Gonna Be Friends” by The White Stripes. The sixth grader was accompanied by her father on guitar. Last but not least, Grant Kuhn, another eight grader, performed “I Lived” by OneRepublic.

All of the high school students who participated were females who recently starred in LSHS’s production of Pippin. The first singer was Sam Tropp, a junior, who has participated in L-S Idol for the past seven years. She performed “I Wouldn’t Trade It”, a song she wrote herself. Next, Izzy Mazaheri sang “All In My Head” by Tori Kelly. Another high school student, Jordan Williard, accompanied her on guitar. Esther Landis, only a freshman, also presented an original song, titled “Same Old Thing”. Her father, wearing matching blue converse, played guitar for her. Finally, Sarah Johnson, a junior, took the stage wearing a gorgeous long gown. She sang “Time to Say Goodbye”, a song entirely in Italian, except for the title words.

The last segment was made of duets. Students of any age could apply to be in this portion of the competition. The first duo presenting a very unique performance. Lily Nauman sang Justin Bieber’s song “Pray” while her best friend and fellow eight grader, Emma Medlock, signed the song. Emma recently decided to learn American Sign Language, and her performance was beautiful. Next, sixth graders Lindsey Heacock and Kelly Hostetter performed a traditional rendition of “Amazing Grace”. Their matching outfits proclaimed that they must be very close as well. Finally, juniors Lauren Bliss and Ashley Crutcher performed “Flight” by Craig Carnelia. Their beautiful harmonies were accompanied by L-S sophomore Matt Rhoades on piano.

Jessie Reynolds, a past L-S Idol performer and winner, exclaims that she “feels like the talent at the competition gets better and better every year.”

Regardless, the judges had to pick winners. Audience members were given tickets with which to vote after all the performances were finished. These votes made up 50% of the contestants’ scores.

Emcee Lisa Horn finally announced the winners after an extended break during which the judges tallied scores. For the elementary section, Tanner Emmerling won. Maddie Ciliento won the middle school division, and Sarah Johnson won the high school division. Lauren Bliss and Ashley Crutcher took home first for duets.

The Strasburg Area Women’s Club hosts this event every year in order to raise money for youth events and scholarships in the community. Because of the funds raised, they will be able to give scholarships to students through the Mom Strubel Volunteerism Award, Strasburg Award Woman’s Club Award, and to send a tenth grader to the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) conference each year.

Check out all of David Johnson and Cory Grey's LS Idol photos in this Google Photo album.

--Alyssa Van Lenten, LSNews.org Local Editor
--David Johnson and Cory Grey, LSNews.org photographers

Edited: BP

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