'Enfield Idol' showcases residents' talent

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Thu., Mar. 21, 2013
Jessica-handly-enfield-idol. Contributed.
The 2013 'Enfield Idol' Grand Champion was Asnuntuck adjunct English professor Jessica Handly. Photos contributed by Maureen Brennan.

Enfield Foundation for Excellence in Education’s (EFEE) "Enfield Idol" competition was a smashing success in its first year, but by all accounts the second annual event was even bigger and better, as it blew the first year out of the water. The second annual event drew more than 450 people to the Enfield High School auditorium on March 15, as they were attracted by the enthralling vocal talents of 17 Enfield residents ranging in age from 7 to 44.

“Excitement has been mounting for the event since our first ‘Idol’ competition ended, but it really took off after auditions began in January,” said EFEE President Shannon Grant. “It was incredible to see that many people from the community come out and show their support for the contestants as well as EFEE.”

The event kicked off with a brief introduction from Asnuntuck Community College President Martha McLeod, before Asnuntuck adjunct English professor Jessica Handly took the stage for the first performance of the evening, captivating the crowd with her charismatic voice and energetic performance of "All Jacked Up" by country music star Gretchen Wilson. The judges - retired Enfield High School music teacher John Gionfriddo, local performer Becky Schaefer and the 2012 "Enfield Idol" grand champion Chad Glabach - could not get Handly’s performance out of their heads, as they ultimately named her Grand Champion of the 2013 "Enfield Idol" competition.

The event ended almost as strong as it began, as two out of three final performers were named runner-up in their respective categories. Taylor Fritz charmed the audience on her way to being named runner up for the under-16 category for her performance of "Free" by former "American Idol" contestant Haley Reinhart. In the over-16 category, Jocelynn Sollemi was named runner-up after getting the crowd’s knees bouncing to "Things that Never Cross a Man’s Mind" by country musician and former "American Idol" contestant Kellie Pickler.

The event also featured performances by Glabach, 2012 under-16 runner-up Megan Torres and choreographed dances by Brenna DaSilva Grimson of Riley’s School of Dance.

The amount of money raided for EFEE through the event has not yet been finalized, but Grant believes it could be as much as $5,000 - a steep increase from the $4,000 brought in by last year’s event.

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