12th annual V105.5 Caroling Contest kicks off tonight

Published 8:25 pm Friday, December 2, 2016

Buddy the Elf says, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

The 12th annual V105.5 Vicksburg Christmas Caroling Contest kicks off at 7 p.m. tonight with the first night of preliminary completion at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

“I just enjoying hearing the music,” radio station owner and general manager Mark Jones said. “We’ve had some excellent people. You’d be surprised how well they can sing.”

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Over the years some big names have come out of the annual contest like country singer William Michael Morgan, American Idol contestant Ashley Proctor and Miss Vicksburg’s Outstanding Teen 2011 McKenzie Pollack.

There are 68 entries in this years’ completion, up from last year’s 44. Jones said people have entered from Clinton, Jackson, Vicksburg, Port Gibson and much of central Mississippi and northeast Louisiana.

The four night competition is broken into nine divisions: lower elementary choir, upper elementary choir, junior high choir, high school choir, children soloist, junior high soloist, high school soloist, adult soloist and high school small groups.

The contest will continue in preliminary competition Tuesday and Thursday nights at 6:30 p.m., and the final completion will be next Saturday, Jan. 10, at 6:30 p.m.

The field will be cut to 30 finalists for next Saturday’s show where nine winners will be named. Winners will be given a free hour-long recording session with Hummingbird Recording Studio. All finalists will split a $10,900 prize.

“When we add that to what we’ve already given away, that comes to over $100,000 given out over 12 years. It’s gone to schools, churches and individuals,” he said, adding schools have been able to use the money to purchase musical instruments for the classroom. In addition to the prize money, the radio station also provides each participating elementary school choir with a McDonalds party.

“We just try to help the music programs out at the schools,” Jones said.

Three qualified judges, including a trumpet player and two vocalists, have the difficult job of narrowing down the field, Jones said. 

“We try to vary the judges so they have different perspectives,” he said. “We judge on how well the performance is done, how difficult the performance is and on originality.”

The convention center can hold 1,200 people, and Jones said at least one night of competition, if not two, should be standing room only.

“Tuesday night is probably going to be our biggest night,” Jones said. “There are going to be some very good individuals on (Saturday) night.”

Children 12 and under get in free, and tickets for everyone else are $5.

“It’s the best $5 show you can come to,” Jones said.

Performances will be recorded and many of them will air on the radio, 105.5 FM, starting 10 a.m. Christmas Eve through Dec. 26.