Singing competition moves to Lake Compounce

Singing competition CT Icon, typically held during the Apple Harvest Festival, has found a new home. After numerous successful years at the festival, the competition is moving to Lake Compounce.
Normally rounding up at least 100 singers for the auditions, CT Icon is hoping to attract even more people at the theme park.
“Lake Compounce has been extremely gracious and supportive about the event,” said CT Icon spokeswoman Melissa Ericksen-Salmon. “We’re really fortunate to have so many supporters of the event.”
The competition will be held at the famous Starlight Theatre in the park, a stage where musical greats like Frank Sinatra have performed. Sinatra played for a crowd of 5,000 at the beginning of his music career in 1941.
“It’s very exciting,” said Ericksen-Salmon. “The theatre is beautiful. You can feel the history of the place.”
Also new this year will be an alternate audition day.
For the first time, CT Icon will hold two audition days to accommodate singers. The first audition day is Sunday, August 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Comfort Suites, 64 Knotter Dr., Southington. The second auditions are set for Saturday, August 23, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., also at Comfort Suites.
The call back round, for those advancing, will also be held on August 23, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Comfort Suites. Twelve finalists will be chosen.
The CT Icon contest will be held on Saturday, August 30 and Sunday, August 31, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Starlight Ballroom Theatre at Lake Compounce. The winner will be declared on Sunday, August 31.
The competition contributes to the community by making donations to local charities and the winner receives $1,000 and an opportunity to a record a song in a studio.
CT Icon employs volunteer judges to help decide the winner, some of who have been finalists in the competition in previous years.
According to Ericksen-Salmon, former CT Icon winners and finalists are doing some big things. Jillian Caillouette won the first competition five years ago and has made significant progress in her music career. She recently won the Connecticut Musical Theatre Award for Best Lead Actress this year and competed in nationals in New York in July.
“She is destined for an exciting career,” said Ericksen-Salmon. “A lot of our finalists and winners are continuing to do well. It’s an honor for CT Icon to support the artists in Connecticut that’s really why we’re here.”
Last year’s winner, Alexandra Hernandez, of Naugatuck, said that CT Icon helped her realize that she wanted to pursue a career in musical performance. The competition last year was only her second singing competition.
“It really brought me out of my comfort zone and gave me more motivation and drive,” said Hernandez. “It opened me up to competition and performance environments.”
She said she is now a finalist in Can U Sing USA and that she will attend the Berkeley College of Music in late August.
The former 2013 winner’s first piece of advice for singers who are considering trying out is to have fun.
Her second is to “stay true to yourself. Don’t stray away from what you love, if you do, the judges will realize that.”

By Mike Chaiken Jillian Caillouette, a former CT Icon winner, entertains the crowd Saturday night at the Italian-American Festival.

By Mike Chaiken
Jillian Caillouette, a former CT Icon winner, entertains the crowd Saturday night at the Italian-American Festival.

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