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In tune: Woodbury teen singing for Minnesota

East Ridge High School sophomore Maggie Eckberg will represent Woodbury on Sept. 28 during the first-ever Minnesota Sings statewide singing competition. (Submitted photo)

It’s no secret among the community that Woodbury has a tremendous amount of talent, but now the rest of Minnesota will be able to see that as well.

East Ridge High School sophomore Maggie Eckberg will represent Woodbury at the first-ever Minnesota Sings competition on Sept. 28 at the Holiday Inn East in St. Paul.

“I’m really honored to be representing Woodbury,” Eckberg said. “I can’t even believe it.”

Minnesota Sings

Minnesota Sings is a statewide competition that will see representatives from 48 cities face off in a vocal competition.

“It will provide a big-time, small-town opportunity for everyone in the state,” said event producer Kelly Casey.

Minnesota Sings is open to contestants who are 15-25 years old.

Each of the 48 cities participating in the competition held auditions throughout the spring, summer and fall. The furthest competitor is coming from Moorhead, Casey said.

When it comes to performances, Casey said judges will be looking for vocal skills, presentation, audience response, overall impression and choice of material.

“It needs to be more than just a voice,” Casey said. “It’s not a karaoke contest, it’s not a popularity contest.”

The first place winner will receive $2,500 in addition to a $250 cash prize for the winning city’s chamber of commerce.

The winner will also receive $500 to be donated to their charity of choice.

Second place will receive $1,000 cash. Third place will receive $500 cash.

Audiences will also vote for their favorite performance and the winner will receive a music prize package valued at $200.

Singing for Woodbury

Merill Community Arts Center held auditions for its Minnesota Sings contestant on Sept. 4.

“We loved the idea of starting an annual competition,” said operations director Michelle Witte. “There’s so many youth who want an opportunity to perform and this is another great opportunity for artists and performers to strut their stuff.”

Eckberg said she decided to audition on a whim.

“I didn’t expect anything from it,” she said. “I kind of just auditioned for the experience.”

For her audition, Eckberg performed “They Keep Moving the Line” from the television series “Smash.”

“It really shows off my range,” she said.

Witte said the judges selected Eckberg as Woodbury’s representative for Minnesota Sings because she is the “whole package.”

“It’s not just about the quality of your singing,” she said, “it’s about who you are as a person.”

Eckberg said she is feeling the pressure of singing for Woodbury.

“But, it’s the good kind of pressure because it motivates,” she said. “It’s the good kind of pressure for me to do the best I can possibly do.”

Witte and Eckberg said they are both eager to see what the talent across Minnesota looks like.

“It gives local communities an opportunity to really celebrate arts in their own community and bring someone forward,” Witte said.

“I can’t wait to see what each town has to offer,” Eckberg said.

Minnesota Sings will take place Sept. 28 throughout the day at the Holiday Inn East in St. Paul. Tickets are $10. Visit for more information.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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