The 49th-annual National Shrimp Festival returns after a two-year hiatus. That means Singing for Scholarships will return to the festival's main stage.Singing for Scholarships began in 2013 as a way …
Singing for Scholarships began in 2013 as a way to highlight local high school students' talent and provide the winners with scholarships and their school with money. Each year, with the exception of 2020 when it was canceled, the competition has seen a continued increase in contestants.
The top three contestants will receive a cash scholarship worth $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place and $250 for third place. The schools of the top three contestants receive $500 each.
Each year, Singing for Scholarships chairperson Allison Pryor has pushed to create more opportunities for the winners. This year's top three will have three unique opportunities throughout the year to highlight their talent. The opportunities include:
The first-place winner will also sing the national anthem at the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber's First Friday Forum in December.
"The opportunity for these kids is growing every year," Pryor said. "I think the more opportunities we give these kids the more validity to the program we have."
The Singing for Scholarship competition format gives each competitor the opportunity to sing two songs. The panel of judges select the top three competitors who move on to the final round. During the final round, the top three perform one final song. The judges then choose the first, second and third place winners.
"The purpose of them doing two songs is to be able to show their skills, talent and range a little bit better," Pryor said. "This could be the first time they have been on a stage. This may be the last time they may ever be on a stage. I really wanted to be able to give these students as many opportunities as they can to showcase their talents."
The competition is open to high school students in all public and private high schools in Baldwin County as well as virtual and home-school students. Only one student from each school can compete. Schools can hold their own competition or select an interested student. Students that are interested in competing should speak with the school's music teacher, school counselor and principal. Contestants can find the application at myshrimpfest.com. School administrators can also find the school consent form there as well. The deadline to apply is Sept. 16 or until all 20 spots are filled.
The Singing for Scholarships competition takes the Shrimp Festival main stage on Oct. 8 at 10 a.m. The competition is free to watch. For more information on Singing for Scholarships or the Annual National Shrimp Festival, visit myshrimpfest.com.