By Sherry Londe
A lively crowd gathered at LuLu’s in Destin Thursday, May 12, for the final showdown of 11 contestants in Emerald Coast Theatre Company’s first-ever ECLive.
The event began in early May with two pre-qualifying rounds and a total of 50 competitors. “We are dedicated to promoting local talent,” says ECTC honcho Nathanael Fisher. “With ECLive, we wanted to give singers the opportunity to show off their skills and raise funds for our company’s growing educational and professional programs.”
The three judges—30A Songwriters Festival co-producer Russell Carter, stylist Amy Giles, and Q92 radio personality Chelsea Nightly—chose 19-year-old Britt Reynolds as the overall winner. The young chanteuse walked away with $3,500 worth of prizes, including a $500 cash prize, a recording session courtesy of Chris and Gileah Taylor, a photo session donated by Jessi Holloway Photography, a wardrobe styling session with Giles, and a live performance on the HarborWalk Village stage during Memorial Day weekend.
The People’s Choice award went to Christian Becerra.
Each hopeful was asked to prepare two songs—one uptempo and one more “soulful” option—from any genre. There were a variety of selections, from contemporary pop to Broadway and jazz.
“This is great, so much fun,” said audience participant Chase Yakaboski. “Giving local talent this kind of opportunity is an honorable cause, and I’m very impressed by the quality of the entertainers. So glad I came out tonight.”
The vivacious Laura Holloway—owner-operator of the Storyteller Agency—kept the evening rolling along as emcee, and Beachy Beach—2015 winners of the ECTC Lip Sync Battle—opened the show. During intermission, Greenville, Alabama singer-songwriter Kevin Sport entertained the crowd.
The teary-eyed winner Reynolds said, “I am honored and thankful. I began singing at age three with my mother around the house and at church. This is a dream, and I look forward to enjoying the benefits of this wonderful opportunity. I believe that with God, all things are possible.”
Up next for ECTC—performances of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night Thursdays at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin and weekly family improv shows at HarborWalk Village. Find out more at emeraldcoasttheatre.org.