by Ethan Merrill
Holt Journal Staff Writer
Buddies Pub and Grill was host to the opening round of the second annual Holt Hammy Talent Challenge, an event aimed at displaying local talent and raising money for the HOLT Scholarship.
About 60 area residents were inside the banquet room at Buddies on Feb. 25 to enjoy the music, dancing and food provided by the Hammys. The contest was free to enter, and participants of all ages performed 15 acts throughout the night.
Judges rated each act on: Vocals, appearance, stage presence and overall performance. Non-vocal performances were not penalized.
Event organizer C.J. Davis kicked off the night with an enthusiastic guitar performance, accompanied by a friend on the saxophone. Their song was not judged, but would set a mood of excitement for the following acts.
Holt High School sophomore Madison Austin was one of the first to take the stage. Her rendition of Corrine Rae Bailey’s song “Put Your Records On” was well received by the audience. The second-place winner of last year’s competition hoped the performance brought her closer to another night of Hammy glory.
“I’ve been doing karaoke since I was 10, so that led me to start trying serious competitions,” said Austin. “It was such a great opportunity last year that I knew I couldn’t miss tonight.”
Delhi Township Parks and Recreation Director Mark Jenks said, “I love to see our local talent showcased—and for a good cause. The event is definitely bringing excitement to the area.”
Special guests Bob Hoffman and Mary Turner, from FOX 47’s radio show “The Morning Blend,” assisted in hosting the night’s events. The local radio personalities noted how impressed they were with the talent on multiple occasions.
The increased number of acts from last year meant the performances would have to be split into separate dates. Part two of the qualifying round will take place on Wednesday, April 16, again at Buddies.
The top performers from the qualifying rounds will compete in a grand finale round, scheduled for Wednesday, April 30. The final winner then will have the opportunity to perform at August’s Holt Hometown Festival.