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From left to right: 3rd place Isabelle Parell and Hiatt Dunlap “More than Music”, 2nd Place Frank Steiner and Sam Knecht “The Travelin’ Hilburys”, and 1st Place Andrew Fink.

With a ren­dition of Adele’s “To Make You Feel My Love,” senior Isabelle Parell kicked off the third annual Hillsdale Idol “Unplugged” music com­pe­tition March 21 at Johnny T’s Bistro.  

Funds from the musical evening went toward the Hillsdale County School of the Arts Summer String Fes­tival, a musical boot camp for children ranging from ele­mentary to high school age that gives stu­dents the oppor­tunity to gain instruction in string orchestral instru­ments from world renowned per­formers.

The evening included six musical acts, all per­formed by local artists, and judged by a panel — Meghan Barnes, Anne Schmitt, and Sheri Belson.

The judges named local lawyer Andrew Fink ’06 the first place winner, and he also named the audience favorite as well. Fink, who per­formed in pre­vious years as a bassist, gave the audience a taste of his solo per­for­mance for the first time. He explained how “music is con­ta­gious,” and praised when it was shared amongst friends and family.  

Pro­fessor of Biology Frank Steiner and Lec­turer of Art Sam Knecht took the stage with their acoustic guitars. The two have been per­forming together for four years, singing at church, and per­forming reg­u­larly at Rough Draft.

“I really enjoy singing and I really enjoy singing with Sam,” Steiner said. “Our styles are very com­ple­mentary to one another.”

Steiner and Knecht and took home second-place overall.

Other per­for­mances included an act by one-man-band Russ Kendrick Martin, a Hillsdale res­ident, singing and playing the guitar and har­monica.

Senior Alexander Green joined his sib­lings, junior Timothy Green and freshman Susannah  Green for a family trio act. They per­formed “Valerie” by Amy Wine­house, among other pop songs.

Senior Ryan Burns and Katherine Coffey ’16, per­formed as the “Muppet Watson and the Screech” band, singing folk songs.  

While it takes more than $10,000 to put on the Summer String Fes­tival, David Pesh­lakai, an adjunct instructor of music who spe­cializes in cello, has played with Erdelyi in the past and said Hillsdale Idol “Unplugged” pro­vides a “solid amount” of the funds needed to host the camp. Local busi­nesses also help sponsor the camp to cover the rest of the costs.

Each summer, the HCSA fea­tures a soloist who teaches, but also per­forms, at the con­clusion of the camp. Last summer they brought Karin Lobery Code, who per­formed on a hard­ingfele — a Nor­wegian folk fiddle. This year, Csaba Erdelyi, a vio­linist, will be the fea­tured soloist. He has held the prin­cipal viola with the Phil­har­monic Orchestra of London.  

David Pesh­lakai, an adjunct instructor of music, spe­cializes in cello has played with Erdelyi in the past and said he is grateful that Erdelyi will be coming to the String Fes­tival this summer.

“I am really excited to have him come,” Pesh­lakai said.