BEMUS POINT - Visitors to Bemus Point on Monday heard oldies dating all the way back to the renaissance, as performers from the Wolgemut minstrel troupe joined SE93 in kicking off Chautauqua Lake Idol's first of three theme nights.
Bringing together the 10 singers selected from the past two week's preliminary rounds, Monday night's round of competition featured encore performances by Billy Thomas and Carol Westerdahl as well as covers of such oldies artists as Barry Manilow, Elvis, Buddy Holly and Stevie Wonder.
''It's a privilege,'' Westerdahl said of performing on the Floating Stage. ''I was very touched to be doing 'In The Ghetto' by Elvis and the judges made me cry, which was really surprising. I was proud by the response I got. And it's all for my daughter, Journee Westerdahl. She's my world.''
Advancing to the next round of Chautauqua Lake Idol are, from left, Kenny Fabritius, Billy Thomas, Jay Monaco, Katie Elfman, Carol Westerdahl, Brian Chase and Julie Haight.
P-J photos by Nicholas L. Dean
A member of the Wolgemut Minstrel Troupe entertains the crowd during Chautauqua Lake Idol on the Floating Stage in Bemus Point on Monday.
In addition to Westerdahl of Jamestown, judges selected Katie Elfman of West Ellicott, Jay Monaco of Mayville, Julie Haight of Jamestown, Billy Thomas of Frewsburg, Brian Chase of Jamestown and Kenny Fabritius of Sinclairville to continue on in the 2008 regional vocal competition. Singers will perform country songs next week as part of the WHUG-sponsored theme night. Area-raised musician Jackson Rohm will also perform and participate in the evening's judging.
A tough theme, Chautauqua Lake Idol judge Timothy Edborg said Oldies Night has its pros and cons as both the audience and the performers are intimately familiar with the songs.
''They're the songs that people grew up with, so they're a little bit more near and dear to your heart,'' Edborg said. ''But also, that means the singers can maybe nail it a little bit better - though it's hard to nail some of these songs. Overall, there's always a little less energy on oldies night. The songs can be slower. Energy is a big thing with me. We've got some pretty good vocalists, now I just want to see them bring the energy.''
Exiting the Floating Stage after being chosen to continue on in the competition, both Julie Haight and Jay Monaco said it felt good to perform for so many people and to be moving on to Country Night.
''I'm so freaking excited,'' Monaco said. ''I just want to see some more dancing in the audience.''
Chautauqua Lake Idol was created and is organized by WWSE 93.3 FM, a Media One Group radio station. Now in its fifth year, the 2008 Chautauqua Lake Idol Regional Vocal Competition will consist of six shows total. With both preliminary rounds and the first theme night now complete, there are only two theme nights and a finals night left in the season. Following next week's Country Night is a Classic Rock Night on Aug. 4 and the finals night on Aug. 18.
For more information, visit www.chautauqualakeidol.com or the Media One Group studios. Questions can also be directed to WWSE 93.3 FM by calling 487-1151.