AP NEWS

Second ‘Tri-State Stars’ set for April 13

March 22, 2019
Larry Butcher/For The Herald-Dispatch Mattox Hale sings during the final round of the Tri-State Stars on Saturday, March 31, 2018, at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON - The stars are always shining inside the historic Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center.

But come Saturday, April 13, there will be some new stars shining in the atmospheric theater as the second Tri-State Stars competition brings 11 acts to the stage.

Tickets cost $10 and are now on sale at Ticketmaster.com for the competition which will feature the final 11 acts in performance at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at the historic theater. Advance tickets can also be bought online at https://chhfoundation.org/buy-tickets-for-tri-state-stars/.

Performing in the finals will be Kat Allen and Alan Brown, Kirsten Irvin, Shaylee Brown, Sophie Eastone, Sasha Colette, Heavy Hitters, Daniel Ferreira, Jason Roach, Meacham Toward Carper, Mattox Hale and Beauty Shop Boys. Kirsten Irvin is a dancer; all other performers are musical acts. All will be vying for a $1,000 grand prize.

Presented by Dutch Miller, the Tri-State Stars competition helps raise money for the Cabell Huntington Hospital Foundation, which puts on the event, as well as a co-recipient, the West Virginia Children’s Home Society. Last year, Recovery Point was a co-recipient of the fundraiser.

To get to the finals, the performers had to make it through the first round of video submissions, and then through a second round live audition at the Keith-Albee on Saturday, March 17, that featured 20 acts vying for the 10 finals slots. Because of a tie, 11 acts have landed in the finals.

The live second round and the finals feature production by the Huntington-based company MPE Entertainment that puts on the Marshall Artists Series shows, Barboursville Fall Fest and major concerts at fairs and festivals around the country.

Joe Eddins, president of MPE, said people coming out to the finals on April 13 will see production not unlike “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent,” with video screens and a major-league setup of lights and sound.

“It is more than a regular talent show - it has a more similar feel to ‘America’s Got Talent’ or any of the other TV shows,” Eddins said. “We try to make it a very fun and very professional. It is a full production and so all of the bands get to play on a big stage with a big video screen and tons of lighting. It will be a big production, and they get to play a real show at the Keith-Albee, which is its own thing.”

Even though the contest is just getting started, Eddins said both years they have gotten about 100 video entries from which they selected the top 20 to go on to the second round. He thinks as folks find out about it and what quality it is, the annual talent show fundraiser could really gain some traction among both contestants and friends, family and fans coming out to support the acts.

“We want to get the word out to people to come check out the event this year and see how big it is a big deal production-wise,” Eddins said. “I think once people see that they will get it. We started it last year, and it has gotten bigger this year. It’s going to be fun. We have live judges interacting with the competitors. Once people see the presentation, I think people are going to be like, oh yeah that is super-cool and I’m going to tell my buddy who is a fire-eater or whose dog does tricks.”

At that Saturday, April 13, show, awards will be presented for first place People’s Choice (text to vote), first place Judges’ Choice, and first place Philanthropic Grand Champion. The People’s Choice winner will receive the $1,000 prize.

Eddins, whose MPE company books many local festivals, said the event can be a good boost of publicity and confidence for regional acts.

He said last year’s Judges’ Choice winner Mattox Hale ended up getting some good gigs and such festivals like Poage Landing Days.

“There is so much talent in the Tri-State and people need to get it out there,” Eddins said. “This is a good platform. It is free to audition. If you make it through, we do all the production for you. Where else do you have the opportunity to do something like this for free and plus have a chance to win. We will see what happens this year. There are a lot of good acts who have made it to this part.”

Hale is the only returning winner from last year. The People’s Choice winner last year was Isaac Fadiga, and the Philanthropic Award went to the vocal group Sh-Boom.

Find out more about Tri-State Stars at https://www.facebook.com/tristatestars/ and https://tristatestars.chhfoundation.org.