The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

July 6, 2014

Conneaut Idol celebrates birthday with Best of the Best

CONNEAUT — Seven Conneaut Idol champions returned to their performing roots at Lakeview Park during the last several days at the Conneaut Fourth of July Festival.

The three judges of the Conneaut Idol have deep connections to the contest.

“I’m the brainchild of this (contest) and I look forward to it all year,” said Marty Landon who helps coordinate the festival and judges the competition with Jim Furman and Jamie Hoffschild who competed in the contest the first two years.

Competition in the Best of the Best Conneaut Idol contest started on Wednesday with all previous champions invited to compete.

Bobby Belcher and Taylor Daub bested five other contestants qualifying for the finals which ended late Saturday evening.

“I think we saw something really special,” said Kathy Pape, who was emcee for the contest this year, after Taylor Daub belted out a special tune.

“That was really good. You choose these songs that are going to push you to your limits,” Hoffschild said.

Landon thought Belcher took a different route to the finals, but was still impressed. “I had mixed emotions about that song. It was a safe song for you; but you nailed it,” he said.

A sad side to the show was a text sent to Landon explaining why Alexis Gerdes would have to resign from the competition. “Tell everyone I am sorry, but this (singing at a funeral) had to come before the contest,” Landon said with his voice cracking.

Former champion Debbie Tisdale was eliminated during the afternoon competition, but happy to be involved. “It is nerve wracking to come up here and sing, but it is phenomenal. It is just a great time,” she said.

“There is a huge following,” Hoffschild said of the competition that saw more than 75 people gather in front of the main stage to hear the contestants sing their hearts out.

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