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'Powerful Voice' lands student Lake Idol 2018 title

Lake Middle School students Landon Wahlquist, Becca Jorgensen, Irene Kurian, Ava Bartel and Maria Kolb competed as finalists in the Lake Idol vocal competition Feb. 13. Judges selected Kurian as the winner. Photo by Lake Middle School yearbook staff. 1 / 2
Lake Middle School student Irene Kurian took the title of Lake Idol Feb. 13 for her rendition of Sam Smith's "Not the Only One." Photo by Lake Middle School yearbook staff. 2 / 2

WOODBURY — Irene Kurian never sang in a vocal competition before.

The Lake Middle School eighth-grader said she performed every couple of months, but her recent bid in the school's Lake Idol Competition was the first time she'd tested her pipes against her peers'.

Out of 15 contenders, judges selected Kurian as Lake Idol at their Feb. 13 finale. She was among five finalists.

Kurian will perform her winning piece, a rendition of Sam Smith's "I'm Not the Only One," at her school's pep fest this week.

The song involves a challenging vocal techniques, Kurian said, but she picked the piece during vocal lessons and knew she could handle it.

"I have more of a powerful voice, so I thought it fit," she said.

The Lake Idol judges agreed.

Their comments commended Kurian on her on a "nice control of breathing" and her "fun, raspy tone."

The Feb. 13 event marks the Lake Middle School Student Literacy Council's 10th year hosting Lake Idol, one of the organization's main fundraisers.

The council's student members aim to promote literacy and help teachers meet their classroom needs.

Council Advisor Lori McGinty said fundraisers like Lake Idol allow the group to fill budget gaps teachers face.

Staff can request funds for additional tools and resources.

Assistance the council provided this year so far includes a new classroom software program and new books for an English Language Learner teacher that are more attuned to her students' reading level.

It's just those little needs that aren't being met other places, they can come to us," McGinty said. "Students pay to audition so they take it seriously and they pay to watch the shows."

The competition takes place in three rounds. McGinty said 23 students auditioned this year, while only 15 proceeded to the first round, 10 to the second and five competed in the final round.

Lake Idol in past years has raised about $1,000 total. McGinty said a total is not yet available for this year's event, but the first round raked in about $250.