Adeena Hires/Special to The Chronicle
Washington State Nashville Country Star finalists Audrey Collins of Fife (center) and Riley Hardy of Walla Walla (right), wait in anticipation for Ed Lisenbey (left) to announce the 2017 competition winner at the Omak Performing Arts Center. Hardy was announced 2017 champion.
As of Friday, February 9, 2018
If you’ve lived in Okanogan County for just about any length of time, chances are you’ve heard about the Washington State Nashville Country Star program.
Aspiring teenage country music singers across the state will have one last chance to qualify for a shot at winning $1,500.
The last open audition for this year’s competition is planned Sunday, Feb. 18, at Okanogan High School, 244 S. Fifth Ave.
The competition began in 2005 by former Okanogan resident Ed Lisenbey, who was inspired by the former USA Network and NBC national television show “Nashville Star.”
Since the contest’s beginning - with competitors primarily from the Okanogan Valley - it has grown into a statewide contest entering its 14th year.
“It’s shaping up to be a really good year,” said Lisenbey, who wrapped up auditions in Connell yesterday.
In the first year of the competition, Lisenbey invited students from about 30 high schools, all within a two-hour radius of Okanogan.
He put up the prize money himself, but said he got lucky when tickets to the show covered the cost.
Over the years the program grew, and in 2009 Lisenbey opened entries to competitors statewide and changed the original name, “Okanogan Valley Nashville Star,” to its present title.
Throughout the next month, contestants will advance through a series of elimination rounds.
The finals will be at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 31 in the Omak Performing Arts Center, 14 S. Cedar St.
Over the years several local competitors have advanced to the finals and represented their communities.
If you’ve never attend one of the Nashville Star competition rounds, consider doing so. And if you’re a high school-aged student – with a passion for singing – consider auditioning this year.
For more information about the event, see wanashvillecountrystar.org, or see the Wednesday, Feb. 7, edition of The Chronicle.
Brock Hires is managing editor for The Chronicle. His weekly column appears in the Wednesday edition of The Chronicle. He can be reached at 509-826-1110 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.