Carolers line up to compete this weekend|[11/28/06]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 28, 2006

After just one year, a local radio station’s caroling contest has grown into a popular event with close to 50 individuals and groups signed up to sing this year.

The organizer is V105.5 FM and the major sponsor is Vicksburg Factory Outlets.

&#8220We have had calls all year long asking us what dates are for the caroling contest,” said Liz Porter, marketing director for the outlet center.

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And there are four dates – this Saturday and Sunday, plus Dec. 5 and finals on Dec. 8.

The place is the 900-seat auditorium of Warren Central High School, which was filled to overflowing for the 2005 contest and will likely be again this year. About 15 groups or solo acts will perform in each preliminary, lasting about an hour.

The debut event was to be at the outlet mall, but it was moved to WCHS, which provided a better venue for sound and weather conditions, Porter said.

The contest was started by Mark and Lina Jones, who own and operate V105.5. They offered a similar contest for listeners of their radio station in Alexandria, La., before moving to Vicksburg.

&#8220We thought it was a great way to get the community involved,” Porter said. &#8220We wanted something to get the elementary schools and children involved.”

With about 60 entries the first year, Porter knew the event would become an annual offering.

The categories are divided into six divisions, Elementary School Choirs, Middle School Choirs, High School and Adult Choirs, Middle School Soloist and Small Groups, High School Soloist and Small Groups and Adult Soloist and Small Groups. Winners in the three choir divisions will be eligible for a top prize of $700 and a runner-up prize of $500. Soloist and small group division winners are eligible for a top prize of $200 and a runner-up prize of $100. The top two performers in each division will go on to the finals to compete for the top prize or runner-up.

In the Middle School Division, three winners will move on to the final round to determine one top prize winner and two runners-up. In the Elementary and Middle School Divisions, all of the groups that don’t make it to the finals will win McDonald’s parties.

Porter said she looks forward to the competition being an outlet for the community to showcase local performers.

&#8220Last year, the talent was just unbelievable,” she said. &#8220Everybody told us how much they enjoyed it.”


The Second Annual V105.5 Christmas Caroling Contest will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Warren Central High School auditorium. The finals competition will be at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8. Singers, divided into six divisions, will compete for a portion of $5,000 in prize money. All performances will be broadcast live on V105.5 and recorded to be played back Dec. 23-25. For information, call Vicksburg Factory Outlets at 601-636-7434.