The Voice of Northwest Montana

Annual karaoke tournament continues to grow with more venues, new talent on stage

By Molly Priddy

For a little over a month now, folks from all over the Flathead Valley have gathered in bars and lounges to take to the stage and belt out their favorite songs, all in the hopes that their performance will earn them a spot in the next round of singing.

The 406 Voice has returned to the Flathead, a karaoke contest with several rounds of competition leading up to the finale on April 20 at the Red Lion Hotel in Kalispell from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

It’s also a competition with heart, more than that already necessary to get on stage and sing in front of strangers. All of the proceeds from the 406 Voice finale will go toward the Glacier Children’s Museum project.

The finale is the culmination of weeks of competition. Greg Jordan, a karaoke and radio DJ organizing the event, said 190 people participated out of the possible 200 spots for competitors.

So far, the competition among singers at five venues for the semifinal rounds bodes well for entertainment in the finale, Jordan said.

“Everyone who makes it to the finals is going to be an awesome performer,” Jordan said last week. “This year’s show is going to be just amazing; we’ve moved our venue to the Red Lion this year.”

The venue change will give the final show more space, and provide an area for kids to play and do activities if they get restless during the music.

“With the separation, the kids will be comfortable, and the adults and singers will be comfortable,” Jordan said, with a laugh. “It’s hard to keep a kid’s attention, no matter who is singing.”

Dinner for an adult and one child is included in the ticket price, and if that ticketholder brings more kids, who get free admission, they’ll have to pay for additional meals, Jordan said. The event will also include a cash bar.

Jordan said the karaoke competition has grown since it began several years ago, and fans who have seen previous events will not see repeat performers up on the finale stage this year. That’s one of the best aspects of the competition, Jordan said.

“The karaoke community is actually really large here — a lot of people go out and do it,” Jordan said. “But not everyone is into the contest, even if they’re a good singer.”

The finalists are the winners from five respective venues: Keri Barr and Molly Scherrer from The Spinnaker Bar and Grill in Lakeside; Dakota Hopkins and Chris Jennings from The Scoreboard in Kalispell; Krystle Winters and Susi Schultz from the Whitefish VFW; Jene Martin and Marci Olson from Rainbow Bar and Casino; and Nicole Watkins and Rachel Cook from Vaqueros.

Along with the new venues, this year’s competition also had its first-ever sing-off to determine a tie between two singers at the Scoreboard, Jordan said. They had to sing another song for the judges to determine a winner.

As for the show itself, Jordan said he paid particular attention to the sound system, wanting to ensure top performances are heard properly. More space at the Red Lion means they can have guests such as aerial-silk performers Levitation Nation as well as a lineup of musicians to entertain during dinner.

There will also be a silent auction and split-the-pot to raise funds for the Glacier Children’s Museum. That’s the most important aspect of this whole competition, Jordan said.

“We’re able to bring people together and do something positive that’s not just about a person winning a contest,” Jordan said. “At the end of the day, this is just karaoke, we’re having fun, we’re having a great time, and we have some good singers.”

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