Idol contest aids family seeking sanctuary

By  Emalyn Franco-Romano, Catholic Register Special
  • June 18, 2007
{mosimage}BRAMPTON, Ont. - On your mark, get set, sing! St. Anne’s Church in Brampton played host to a singing competition June 2 as a way to raise funds to assist a family seeking sanctuary in Philip and Mary parish as well as other ministries within the St. Anne’s parish community.
While the common methods to raise money for charity would be the usual bake sale, car wash or barbecue, the Padre Pio Prayer Group at St. Anne’s decided a singing competition would be an original approach to get people to donate money.

Kurt Hancock, a long-time parishioner and prayer group leader, believes that the “Idol” type of contest was a great hook that will hopefully be the first of many. It followed in the footsteps of the very popular American Idol and Canadian Idol TV series which give aspiring singers a chance to strut their stuff before a panel of judges and live television audiences.

“About four months ago we were thinking of some ideas for fund-raising and we thought that this (Idol) competition would be a fun thing to do. If you’ve been to a lot of fund-raisers it gets kind of boring seeing the same thing all the time,” said Hancock. “A singing competition is also a good way to draw the youth and get them involved.”

For the past few months, Hancock along with the Padre Pio Prayer Group have worked tirelessly on the event. The group was also able to convince local businesses to donate prizes for the event. In addition to the singing competition, a silent auction was also held on that night.

{sidebar id=2}“We’re fortunate to have such a large parish community where there’s a little bit of everything. The response has been positive,” said Hancock.

In total 26 aspiring singers auditioned for the contest which held its first round of auditions on May 12. Out of the 26, 14 went on to participate in the finals on June 2. The finalists ranged in age from 10- to 44-years-old. The event raised approximately $1,700.

Ten-year-old Jasmine Ragual stole everyone’s heart as she won first place in the competition for her rendition of “On My Own” from the musical Les Miserables.

Her father, Jose, also competed in the event during the first round of auditions.

“This event was for a good cause and it was definitely a good way to get people involved,” said Jose Ragual. “I think it’s important for people to help their church communities.”

“This (contest) is fun and everyone should come and try their best,” said 10-year-old Jasmine.

Other highlights included the performances of Bianco Pisciola, 12, who won second place and Alessandra Longshaw who won third place, as well as Benjamin Camenzuli, 15, who played the guitar and performed his self-penned song.

(Franco-Romano is a freelance writer in Brampton, Ont.)

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