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Mandy Snow put on a funky performance as she sang "Walking on Sunshine." Snow said her unsuccessful audition for American Idol only motivated her to perform in front of a local audience. (Riham Feshir / Enterprise)

Local youth showcase mature talent at concert

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Singers sang their hearts out while musicians backed them up with some dazzling tunes.

Young artists showed off their mature vocals in the first-ever Youth Music Showcase concert that entertained more than 150 people Saturday night.

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The concert took place at the Park Rapids Area High School auditorium, where different age groups came to listen to a variety of music: From rock and ska to jazz and the acoustic sounds of guitar accompaniment.

"We had plenty of wonderful music," said Sara Bowles, an organizer of the event. "The kids did a wonderful job; I'm so proud of the show they put on."

Nine performers took the stage, all wishing that one member of the band "Sticky Situation," was there.

During Saturday's sound check, Jack Mercado was electrocuted and sent to the hospital. He recovered quickly but was unable to perform Saturday night.

The incident called for a dedication from Alex Ziemann to his fellow artist Mercado.

Ziemann sang "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd.

The rest of the concert included a mix of original and re-done songs.

A few of the participating artists have already released their first albums and one recently released his second.

Eric Bervig of Park Rapids, whose music is inspired by real life stories, released his second album "Chasing Clarence" this month.

Mandy Snow of Park Rapids says her unsuccessful audition for American Idol motivated her to perform in front of a local audience.

Her energetic performance of "Walking on Sunshine" showcased her strong vocals and put a smile on many faces.

The showcase concert was part of the two-day event, "Youth Music and Arts Festival," where young artists displayed their work at area businesses Friday and Saturday, while bands performed at various downtown businesses Friday and Saturday prior to the showcase.

Two particular art pieces by Josh Lundin of Sebeka were the backdrop art for the stage Saturday night.

Lundin donated his art to be silent-auctioned off at the event with proceeds going towards next year's festival.

For those who missed this year's event, the young artists will have no problem putting on another show next year.

"The kids want to do it over and over," Bowles said. "I look forward to doing it next year."

However, a few minor changes will make the events go more smoothly.

Producer of the show, Ben Ranson. said he hopes to have more time for the audition process next year, possibly starting it in June instead of July.

Ranson and Bowles agree that the downtown art should be displayed for at least two weeks instead of two days to give people a chance to see it.

Other than that, Ranson said it was "an intense learning experience."

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