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Atwood talent contests need participants

Atwood Music Festival organizers are urging contestants for theevent’s Gospel Talent and Atwood Idol contests to register for nextweek’s competition.

The Gospel Talent Contest opens the festival Wednesday, May 24,at 6 p.m. The winner will receive a recording session at PoolhouseRecording studio, five free demo CDs and a spot in the festivallineup.

The Atwood Idol Contest continues the festivities Thursday, May25, at 6 p.m. Country performers compete for a recording session atRoute 1 recording studio, five free demo CDs and the opening spotin Friday night’s talent lineup.

Contestants should be prepared to perform two songs, althoughtime constraints may limit them to one, said Gay McElroy, an eventorganizer.

The New Hebron Mass Choir will perform while the judges tallyvotes Wednesday. The Greer Brothers, of Brookhaven, will performduring the same period on Thursday.

Both events have a gate fee of $1 with proceeds from the Gospelcontest to benefit the Lawrence County Habitat for Humanity andproceeds from Atwood Idol to benefit the Boys and Girls Club ofSouth Central Mississippi.

The events have proven highly popular among festival-goers sincetheir inception, McElroy said.

“(The Atwood Idol Contest) is my favorite part of the Atwoodfestival now. It’s so much fun,” she said. “We’ve had people fromall over in the past.”

Past participants in the contests have included numerousperformers from the surrounding area and a smattering ofcontestants from Starkville, Natchez and Louisiana, McElroysaid.

Despite its popularity, however, she said the Atwood IdolContest is not drawing the number of contestants it has in thepast. The Gospel Talent Contest continues to draw a strong field ofperformers.

McElroy encouraged both aspiring artists and establishedperformers to register early for the contests. Performers canregister by calling the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce at587-3007 or visiting the Web site at www.lawrencecounty.org andfollowing the news link.

Early registration is not required, however, and contestants canregister at the time of the event.

“They’ll get exposure even if they don’t win,” McElroy said.”And you never know who may be listening.”

The 32nd annual Atwood Music Festival features Kelsie and BillyDean Friday, May 26, and Exile, Little Texas and Marty StuartSaturday, May 27.

Advance tickets, which include the admission to the gospel andidol contests, are available in Brookhaven at Harvey’s Electronics,State Bank and First Bank; in Monticello at city hall, RhymesElectronics, IGA Food Store, AmSouth Bank, First Bank, State Bankand MC Medical; and in Meadville at Peoples Bank, among otherlocations.