Connecticut Icon returns to the stage

By Lisa Capobianco

Staff Writer

Southington will soon start the search for its next music star.

Auditions for the next Connecticut Icon will take place Saturday, Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Derynoski Elementary School. All auditions will be in the form of A cappella.

Formerly known as Southington Icon, the competition invites all residents ages nine and up to audition.  Twelve finalists from audition day will compete on multiple days during the 45th Annual Apple Harvest Festival.

Based on the audience’s vote and judges’ input, the winner receives $1,000 in cash along with the opportunity to record his or her voice professionally at Onyx Soundlab recording studio in Manchester. Several record companies may receive these recordings. Winners may also have the opportunity to sing at a variety of local restaurants and venues.

Judges will announce the winner on the last day of the festival, October 13.

New Britain resident Jomo Majka was the winner of last year’s Connecticut Icon competition. His daughter pushed him to try out after taking a nearly 20-year hiatus from singing. A native of Poland, Majka sang in rock bands before coming to the United States.

“I was surprised I got in, and even more surprised that I actually won,” Majka said.

Majka continues to sing locally as a member of the Broadstreet Blues Band, which has slowly evolved its music from jazz into hard rock. He said he encourages all talented singers to audition for the competition, even if they think other people sing better.

“Just go for it,” Majka said. “When you hear other people sing, don’t let it get to your head that they are better than you.”

Majka auditioned for American Idol a few years before his audition, but did not succeed to the next level.  Majka said he did not let this get the best of him.

“You just have to keep trying,” he said.

Connecticut Icon Organizer Melissa Salmon-Erickson said that more than 100 people auditioned last year, and she expects more than 300 people to audition this year.  Erickson said the purpose of the competition is to “let other people know and see their talent,” and “to remind us of their potential and their dream.”

Erickson also said the event is a great way to bring music “to the forefront” of Connecticut, especially since the state does not offer as many opportunities as other states, like New York, to audition for musical competitions.

“The arts are very important.” “It’s not always supported the way it should.”

If anyone would like to reserve a spot and audition earlier, pre-register online at www.connecticuticon.com.

File photo Haley Messenger sings Adele’s “We could have had it all” at last year’s auditions.

File photo

Haley Messenger sings Adele’s “We could have had it all” at last year’s auditions.