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Draper Journal

Draper Idol to showcase local pop talent

Jun 25, 2018 02:52PM ● By City Journals Staff

Microphone (Stock photo/Elliot Sloman, photographer)

By Katherine Weinstein | [email protected] 

It is a moment of great anticipation. A lone singer stands nervously on a brilliantly lit stage before a microphone. As the audience cheers, three judges wait expectantly for the singer to begin. 

This is a familiar scenario to anyone who has watched television programs such as “American Idol” or “The Voice.” It will be playing out live on the stage of Juan Diego High School when Draper Idol returns as part of Draper Days on Thursday, July 12. 

Draper Idol began over 10 years ago when Leslie Johnson, a professional singer and music therapist, decided that local pop and country western style singers needed a place to perform and showcase their talents. “There’s a lot of opportunity in musical theater around the valley and some bands you could join, but no place or venue for people who sing pop music or country,” Johnson said. Draper Idol is a way for singers like these to share their talent. 

Draper Community Foundation took on the project as part of Draper Days and it has become a popular annual event. 

There are two contests. The Junior Idol Division is for ages 12 to 15 and Draper Idol is for ages 16 and up. Each contestant must live, work or go to school in the city of Draper.  Contestants for Draper Idol must also be able to commit to participate in some of the Draper Days events such as riding in the parade on the morning of Saturday, July 14 and performing on the main stage later in the day. The Junior Idol winners will only participate in the competition, not the parade or performance.  

Winners of each contest will receive cash prizes. There are no fees to audition or participate in Junior Idol or Draper Idol.   

Preliminary auditions are required for the Junior Idol Division and Draper Idol.  Contestants must submit a 30-second recording of their singing with or without an instrumental track via email to Leslie Johnson by June 30. 

Johnson noted that Draper Idol has never had to turn away anyone who has submitted an audition recording. “People take it very seriously and send in excellent recordings,” she said.

Contestants for both the Junior Idol Division and Draper Idol prepare two songs, one for each round of the contest. The judges narrow the field to about six to eight singers for the second round. Pitch, tone quality, style and stage presence are the criteria by which singers are judged. A singer may have great showmanship, said Johnson, but “70 percent of it is about their voice.” 

The judges are members of the community who have professional experience in music performance. Rob Duffin, who owns Annex Recording Studio in Draper, has worked with many professional musicians on their recordings. Mackenzie Tolk Houmand is a professional singer and performer involved with Draper Arts Council and Draper Historic Theatre.  

Johnson has a background in musical theater and studied music performance at Utah State University. She has performed with the Utah Festival Opera Company in Logan and is currently singing in a country western band. 

“There is some amazing talent in Draper,” Johnson said. “Draper Idol is a fun way to get people out and showcase their talent.” 

The Junior Idol Division contest will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 12 in the auditorium of Juan Diego High School, followed by Draper Idol at 7:00 p.m. Juan Diego High School is located at 300 E. 11800 S. in Draper. 

For more information and access to the email link to submit an audition recording, visit the Draper Idol web page at