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.