MEDINA – Middle schoolers with a passion for singing will soon have a chance to show off their chops.
The second installment of The Medina Voice this year is open to all Medina County middle school students. Last year, it only included students at Root and Claggett middle schools in the Medina district.
The competition is the brainchild of local music personality Jay Goodman, frontman of longtime Medina cover band staple Skinny Moo. Like the format of NBC’s show “The Voice,” Goodman serves as a vocal and stage coach for the kids leading up to the night of the contest.
“It’s kind of an awkward age, kids 12 to 14. They might be scared to put themselves out there like that, but those who do are willing to take the chance and possibly catapult themselves and give them a confidence boost to discover what they have inside themselves,” said Goodman, 43, a father of three teens.
Goodman, who performs regularly around northeast Ohio with Skinny Moo, drew inspiration for creating the program after his experiences trying out for NBC’s “The Voice” multiple times. On one occasion, he cracked the second round.
“Every time I auditioned, I maintained the thought process of not cheapening the experience by whether or not I advanced to the next level,” Goodman said. “We live in a society where everybody gets a participation trophy ... You might as well learn at a developing age you’re not always going to achieve this ultimate goal, but can always try again and work harder the next time.”
Goodman said auditions – held Thursday, April 21 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Claggett Middle School in Medina – are being capped at 50 kids this year and only eight will make it to the main event at Johnny Malloy’s in Medina, Saturday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m.
The final eight will perform the song of their choosing with Skinny Moo as the backing band. A panel of judges, comprised of local arts figures, will then decide a winner. Leading up to the main event, Goodman and Moo will coach the finalists on their performances.
All finalists will receive various gift cards, but the winner will sing with Skinny Moo during the band’s Rally in the Alley performance in Medina this summer.
“The kids learn up front this is a competition,” Goodman said. “All of the kids last year were supportive of each other because they realized it was a competition and that, at the end of the day, you need to leave everything out there on stage.”
Signing up for auditions can take place between April 1-15 at TheMedinaVoice.com. Goodman suggested contestants be well rehearsed and choose their best song to sing a capella. The kids, who will sing individually, will audition in groups because Goodman said that can relieve some of the stress involved.
Last year’s main event drew hundreds of spectators to Johnny Malloy’s. Then an eighth-grader at Claggett, Natalie Seifert won the competition by singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” among the rest of her competitors’ Top 40 song choices. Goodman said Seifert will help emcee this year’s show.
“You can harness that energy and nerves and turn it into excitement rather than fear,” Goodman said. “Seeing the excitement that surrounded (the competition) last year, that’s why I wanted do it in the first place and continue to expand it to the whole county and do it for as long as I can.”