BEMUS POINT – SE93’s summer-long vocal competition is nearing the end of its season, and only four voices remain.
The finale is set for Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Floating Stage in Bemus Point. During the finale, the remaining four competitors, Nicole Tenpas, Teal Weatherley, Bill Brunacini and Michael Nugent, will sing a song of their choice, as well as perform a song chosen by the judges. The first SE93 Chautauqua Lake Voices winner, Susan Waite, will also perform during the finale.
According to Andrew Hill, director of operations and programming for Media One Group, producer and host of the show, SE93 Chautauqua Lake Voices has been well-received and supported in the community each of the past 10 years, and he feels it is important for the community to support the show and the performers in person, he said.
“The final four singers are great people and each certainly bring a great amount of talent and personality to the stage,” Hill said. “When it comes to the finale our judges have to be nit picky and really focus on these final individual performances as well as reflecting on past performances to determine who should win.”
Brunacini, 50, a Jamestown native who comes from a family of 13 children, is a journeyman sheet metal worker who currently works for Kings Heating. Brunacini had known about the competition because his friends recommended he should audition, but because of his work he didn’t have the time to do it. Now that he’s found the time, he’s glad he did, because the competition has allowed him to challenge himself, he said.
According to Brunacini, the opportunity to perform on the Floating Stage is very exciting, especially because other than being in a band in his teens, Midnight Sun, he’s never been on a stage as big as the one in Bemus Point. During the finale Brunacini will perform his pick of “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5, and the judge’s pick of “Roxanne” by The Police.
“I really feel blessed,” Brunacini said. “I don’t feel like I’m talented, and I don’t even want to call it a gift, because then it’s like Christmas time where you almost expect a gift. It makes me feel happy that people enjoy me singing.”
Weatherley, a 30-year-old from Jamestown who graduated from Panama High School in 2002, grew up with a father who played the guitar and sang. Weatherley began singing in high school when Steve Swanson got a hold of her and entered her in various competitions. Outside of high school, Weatherley has performed with several local bands, such as: Two for Flinching; a jazz trio with Swanson and John Cross; Coal Train; Total Chaos; and is currently with We Speak Canadian. She also participated in several of Jamestown Community College’s theater productions. What she’s learned the most about via the competition is stage presence, she said.
According to Weatherley, the experience of performing in Chautauqua Lake Voices has been wonderful, and she cannot wait to show what she’s made of during the finale. Weatherley will perform her pick of “Hurt” by Christina Aguilera, and the judge’s pick of “Son of a Preacher Man” by Joss Stone.
“I’m so excited about it,” Weatherley said. “I wasn’t certain that I was going to get to this point because there are so many good singers in the competition. Every week I was totally nervous that I was going to get voted off. So, I’m really excited about being in the finals, and to see what everyone else is going to bring to the competition.”
Tenpas, an 18-year-old from Ashville who graduated from Falconer High School in 2013, grew up on a farm where her mother always had country music playing. She’s always wanted to be in the competition, but she had to wait until she turned 18, she said.
According to Tenpas, finally getting the chance to be in the competition is awesome, and a lot of fun. To her, the stage feels like home, but she’s also learned a lot about stage presence and being comfortable in front of an audience, she said. Tenpas will perform her pick of “Cowboy Casanova” by Carrie Underwood, and the judge’s pick of “Done” by The Band Perry.
“I’m really excited because I get to sing two country songs, and because we ge to find out who wins – it’s going to be really fun,” Tenpas said. “I think we’re all really great singers, and we all chose really good songs.”
Nugent, a 19-year-old from Lancaster who graduated from Lancaster High School in 2012, played trombone in high school orchestra, marching band, jazz band and more. However, he never sang in high school. But, he’s no longer playing trombone, and has been singing for the past two years. Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra are his inspirations, and he performs covers of their music at his own gigs around Buffalo.
According to Nugent, he found out about the competition about a week before the last audition from his uncle who lives in Jamestown. The Post-Journal videos of the competition have been particularly helpful to Nugent, who uses them to critique himself, he said. Nugent will perform his pick of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” by Frank Sinatra, and the judge’s pick of “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble.
“Being on the Floating Stage is kind of like a dream – it’s a big adrenaline rush,” Nugent said. “You get to connect with people, make people happy and perform with the unbelievable musicians behind you. My main goal isn’t to walk away victorious, I just genuinely like connecting with people and entertaining people. When I go up there on stage I don’t think about myself singing and winning – I just want to give the people good music.”
The judges for the competition include: Tim Edborg, Michelle Paterniti, Patricia Newman and Drew Minton.
“We are encouraging people to come to the show as well and bring their cell phones so they can vote for the person they think should win,” Hill said. “In the event the judges need a tie-breaking vote the results from the text vote will play a factor in determining who will win.”
For more information visit ChautauquaLakeVoices.com or search for “Chautauqua Lake Voices” on Facebook.