By Eric Bourque
A former participant in the annual Star Acadie competition is experiencing the event from a new vantage point this year.
Chelsea Nickerson took part in Star Acadie the past three years and is now its artistic director and coordinator.
Scheduled for July 13 in the Father Maurice LeBlanc theatre at the Par-en-Bas school community centre in Tusket, Star Acadie is a French singing competition for youth in the Municipality of Argyle.
There are two age categories – 10 to 14 and 15 to 19 – and cash prizes.
The first-place contestant in each category gets $500, second gets $250 and there is a $100 public choice prize. There also is a $200 prize for best original song and a $150 prize for judges’ mention.
As of June 4, there were 15 registered for this year’s competition.
The event is open to youth who live in the Municipality of Argyle, who attend school there or who have graduated from a high school there.
Nickerson – a winner of four Star Acadie prizes all told in 2012 and 2013 – began her position with this year’s Star Acadie event in late April.
“My job is to practise with them (the contestants),” she said, “so they take a French song and I practise one on one with them.”
She also plans to bring the participants together to practise in advance of competition night.
She says she feels the event is valuable from a cultural/linguistic perspective.
“I think it’s important,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity to sing in French and it helps keep the language going.”
Asked to compare her role as the event’s organizer to her previous one as a participant, she said, “It’s very different because I have to do the practices and practise with them instead of me practising my song alone … and I’m going to work with the kids, vocally, and make them feel comfortable on stage.”
For at least some of the Star Acadie contestants, performing in an event like this will be a new experience.
“I’m pretty sure there’s a couple that haven’t been on stage before,” Nickerson said, “so I have to work with them on their stage presence too.”
Star Acadie is an activity of the Festival acadien international de Par-en-Bas. The Star Acadie coordinator is based at the Par-en-Bas community centre and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 648-2253.