“419 Sings” competition breathing life back into local music scene

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:18 PM EDT
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FINDLAY, Ohio (WTVG) - 2020 was a rough year for musicians, but United Way of Hancock County is working to get artists back on their feet with a singing competition.

“I think this competition will allow those artists who were just local artists or regional artists to really be seen,” says Barb Bish, development director at the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts (MCPA).

After a year of empty seats and lonely stages, local artists could use the help. So MCPA is teaming up with United Way for 419 Sings, a virtual talent competition for musicians in the 419 region’s 28 counties. Any singer or band over the age of 18 living in one of those counties is eligible to participate.

The counties include: Allen, Ashland, Auglaize, Crawford, Darke, Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Holmes, Huron, Lucas, Marion, Mercer, Morrow, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Van Wert, Wayne, Williams, Wood, and Wyandot.

“We thought, “Why not get together? Do something together to make a bigger opportunity for the region and infuse some energy back into the arts in the 419,” says United Way of Hancock County’s Heather Heilman.

A local team will narrow down the submissions to a top 30. Those will then be reviewed by a panel of industry experts from Nashville to New York. That panel will narrow the submissions down to the top 16. Then the public will decide at $1 per vote. Anyone can watch the virtual submissions and vote.

All money raised will go to the Marathon Center and United Way’s local programs.

The grand prize winner gets $2,500 cash, a full day’s recording session at Stone Soup Recording Studios in Maumee with a professional sound engineer, and a headline performance at the Marathon Center.

“There are so many great artists here in Northwest Ohio, that for them to be able to get out and play in front of people and the prize will help them to get a recording that maybe they can take on to bigger and better things,” says Eric Sills, owner and engineer at Stone Soup.

Submissions are due by August 13 on United Way’s website.

Thanks to local singer/songwriter Robbie Clark for providing the music featured in this video.

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