The ongoing popularity of the Brandon Idol contest was apparent Sept. 29 at the Brandon Elks Lodge, where packed crowds witnessed both the Brandon Idol Teen contest in the afternoon and the adult contest at night.
Among the attendees, and organizers, was George Sorensen, executive director of the Brandon Family YMCA, the event’s benefiting charity for the past two years. Extra sweet this year was the judges’ call to give the first-place award to Marc Williams, 27, who said he read about the contest online and spent his childhood at the Brandon YMCA.
- For more about Williams, and his reaction to winning, see Brandon Idol Crowns Top Singer at Brandon Elks Fundraiser.
Prizes were awarded as well to Danny Arroyo, who placed third; to Britt Lobato, who placed second; and to Kevin Selbe, who received the People’s Choice Award, which is determined by how much money is donated on behalf of each singer at the contest.
"The Y is blessed to be the charity of choice two years in a row," Sorensen said, noting that the money raised will help provide children's programming.
Brandon Idol "is a great event, it has 12 years of history behind it," Sorensen added, giving kudos to Dave Loebig, one of the two original Brandon Idol organizers still active with the event.
“This is Dave’s baby, he kind of started this thing,” Sorensen said. “He puts a lot of work into it, a lot of effort.”
Also involved since the beginning is Pat Magruder of the Magruder Insurance Agency, who said the event began in 2001 as a fundraiser for Arlene Waldron in her successful bid to be that year’s honorary mayor of Brandon. Each year the “candidate” who raises the most money for charity is “voted” into office.
“We just wanted to do something really fun that was different,” Magruder said. In the early days, the show featured “hilarious people doing silly acts, just creating a great fundraiser for the community,” she said.
“It materialized into great singers and into two shows [one for teens, one for adults] because it was so popular and the talent has elevated to an extremely high level of performances,” Waldron added. “This is one of the most fun fundraisers I’ve ever worked on or attended.”
- See 2012 Brandon Idol Teen Contestants
- See 2012 Brandon Idol Adult Contestants
Aiding in this year’s efforts, and in many previous efforts, were Chris Halfman of Halfman Consulting and his wife, Tracy, of Drug Screen Solutions in Brandon, who bring the state-of-the-art sound equipment.
Also, emcee Robert Horning, Debbie and Glenn Walton and Diana Niles, development director for the Brandon Family YMCA.
Diana Niles, development director of the Brandon Family YMCA, said she was surprised to see Williams show up for the contest. She has seen him many times before at the Y, where Williams said he “opened and closed the place” starting at age 7 and running up until about three years ago.
As for Williams, he gave high marks to the contest that gave him his crown.
“It’s very well organized, the stage and sound equipment were beautiful and everybody’s so friendly and really nice," he said. "I want to do it again. I want another [Brandon Idol contest] next week.”