Wilson Idol seeks 2018 contestants

Talent show welcomes performers of all ages

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Singers, dancers, musicians and entertainers have about 2 ½ months to sign up for the sixth annual Wilson Idol community talent show.

Aug. 17 is the application deadline for Wilson Idol, which will be held at 5 p.m. Sept. 8 at Fike High School. Mildred Summerville, a playwright and retired principal, organizes the event through her Summerville Promotion and Production Co. and Tall One Outreach Ministries.

“This production is a community effort that strives to increase the overall potential of success in public schools,” Summerville wrote in a news release. “Empowering the youth will help to facilitate personal development while strengthening their home, school and community relationships.”

Performances in song, dance, instrumental music, dramatic arts and spoken word are featured on the Fike High stage. Summerville said the show may help identify budding stars.

Wilson Idol is geared toward school-age children but has evolved into a talent show for the whole family. Last year’s incarnation featured a youth and adult division competing for top honors.

“It is our philosophy to build a solid arts foundation, which serves all ages ranging from 3 years old and up,” Summerville wrote. “It is through these new and innovative outlets that we focus on the importance of performing arts that have the potential to foster comprehensive intellectual, social and emotional development for all individuals.”

Summerville said cash prizes will be awarded and winners will be given the chance to perform for gospel star Shirley Caesar, a Durham pastor who’s won 11 Grammy Awards and seven Dove Awards during a six-decade recording career.

The grand-prize winner will receive a role in Summerville’s gospel play, “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child,” which premiered in November 2016 at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington. A performance at the Carolina Theatre in Durham is planned for Sept. 29.

Twelve-year-old Alayla Jenkins earned top honors in the 2017 talent competition. The McDonald Sisters, a Fayetteville-based gospel quintet, judged the performances. Judges for 2018 have not been announced.

Taking part in the talent show isn’t just about winning. Organizers say they want to encourage and inspire youth to study the arts, noting that young musicians, singers and actors often excel in school.

“This educational initiative significantly increases the probability of school success as our youth continues their pursuit of graduation,” Summerville wrote.

According to its founder, Wilson Idol has three main goals:

• To encourage all Wilson County residents, especially students, to remain in school and to pursue their personal interests in the performing arts;

• To showcase diversity through the performing arts and to provide a public talent expo for all interested individuals, which allows them to reach their full potential in comprehensive learning; and

• To encourage religious organizations, civic groups and businesses to collaborate and partner with event organizers to provide innovative activities that promote the performing arts in and around Wilson.

To sign up for a slot on the Wilson Idol stage, call Mildred Summerville at 252-230-2689 or email wilsonidol2013@gmail.com. Applications are also available from school secretaries in Wilson County.