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Star fundraiser set

— A fundraiser for the Washington State Nashville Country Star program will be at 5 p.m. June 21 at the Okanogan Eagles Club, 1820 N. Second Ave.

The event will include a spaghetti dinner, a live auction and performances by the 2014 finalists. All ages can attend.

Those attending can go for dinner only, entertainment only or a combination of the two. A dessert auction runs from 7-8 p.m., with entertainment resuming after the auction, organizer Ed Lisenbey said.

Several current and former Nashville Star competitors performed recently as opening acts for country star James Otto, who is known for his No. 1 hit “Just Got Started Loving You.”

Lisenbey said he was contacted after this year’s Nashville Star finals in late March by promoters Harry Akers and Lizzie Barnts from Centralia. They wanted the finalists to compete for a chance to open for Otto.

He convinced them to let some former competitors compete, too.

Akers and Barnts originally wanted one singer to open for Otto and two to perform at an after-concert party, but instead selected two — Audre Belt of Ellensburg and Katelyn Hart of Gig Harbor — for the opener and three — Maile Gagne of Bonney Lake, Charlie Green of Vancouver and Melissa Markel of Richland— for the after-party.

“The promoters were amazed at the talent, so much so that they decided to use five of our singers,” Lisenbey said.

The concert was May 16.

“The kids were a huge hit and got to meet and spend time visiting with Otto,” Lisenbey said. Belt and Gagner also opened for Otto in Yakima on May 23.


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