- Parent Category: Culture, Education & Sports
- Category: Entertainment, Movies and Art
- Published: 05 June 2008
Hollywood, Florida (NFIC) 6-08
Young Tori Osceola and her Spotlight Award.
Photos by Felix DoBosz
Seminole country is a big, talented place. From the youth to the elders, there are singers,
songwriters, flute players, and rappers. In order to showcase the diversity of the tribe, Promotions Director Micki Free came up with the idea of a Seminole Star Search.
In the spring, Free took a panel of judges singer Shea, bassist Jon Brant, and singer/songwriter Matt Kramer on a bus tour to all the reservations across the long state of Florida. At each reservation, including Tampa, Hollywood, Big Cypress, they held an open call for performers to show up and strut their stuff. Contestants were evaluated for their stage presence, vocal or instrumental ability and presentation.
Spencer Battiest giving his winning gospel performance.
The lights dimmed and the show began with a stunning performance of a newly recorded version of Seminole Wind sung by Shea and backed by Free on guitar and Brant on bass.
The array of talent that followed was amazing, with performances from girls as young as 7 singing acapella; to 20-something women performing their favorite country hits; to elder Seminoles playing flute. A particularly rousing disco medley, and a few rappers charged up the house with stirring songs of Native pride and problems.
Family members had traveled from all over the state to cheer on their contestants.
The judges found something good in every performance, whether it was the choice of song, personality, or vocal style.
Its not like American Idol, says judge Jon Brant. We want to find the best of the best and encourage the rest. This can be a real platform for these artists, and we need to be as constructive in our evalations as we can.
As the evening continued, there were a few standouts, and the judges and audience clearly had their favorites. After a presentation of platinum albums to the tribal council that helped put the show together and to the judges for all their months of hard work, it was time to announce the winners.
Four spotlight trophies were given out to those the judges felt were definitely ones to watch, and those four were automatically eligible to be in the finals next year.
Matt Kramer leads the group song.
Free also announced that there will be a Seminole Star Music Camp beginning this summer where up and coming performers can attend and get coaching from the judges and other industry pros on how to be a real star.
To end the show in a blast of unity, Matt Kramer led the entire group of performers in singing We Are The World.