06/09/13 8:44pm
06/09/2013 8:44 PM

JOE DOLL COURTESY PHOTO | Riverhead Idol winner 2013 Taylor Burgess.

Tonight, Riverhead has a new Idol.

When 16-year-old Taylor Burgess stepped onto the stage to perform, those in attendance saw a calm teenager. When she opened her mouth for the first notes of “Breathless,” a Corinne Bailey Rae song she says she loves, they heard just how talented she is.

By the time she stepped off the stage, the audience was left mesmerized.

The Riverhead High School junior, who hopes to study vocal performance and dreams of one day being famous, was the winner of tonight’s Riverhead Idol competition at the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall.

After the performance, judge Dee Martin could only gush.

“That was effortless,” she said. “It was seamless. It was gorgeous.”

JOE DOLL COURTESY PHOTO | Riverhead Idol 2013 winner Taylor Burgess, right, with second place finalist Ryan Mancini and third place finalist Megan Schlichting.

Ms. Burgess won a $250 cash prize, a $150 gift card to Tanger Outlet Center, $50 at The All-Star bowling alley and a trophy. Second place went to Ryan Mancini, an eighth grader from Riverhead Middle School, while third place was awarded to Megan Schlichting, a seventh grader.

When asked how she prepared for today’s competition, Ms. Burgess smiled.

“The shower,” she said with a laugh. “I sing in the shower.”

Read more about the Riverhead Idol competition in Thursday’s issue of the News-Review.

05/01/13 4:00pm

JOHN NEELY FILE PHOTO | Sophia Parise (left) accepts her first place award last year from Rose Sanders in the Riverhead Idol contest, which will be held in June this year.

Riverhead Idol will be back this year, a little later than usual, and it will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary, said Riverhead Councilman Jim Wooten, who annually serves as the master of ceremony for the singing contest.

This year’s competition will be held at 2 p.m. June 9 at the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, Mr. Wooten said.

“We normally have it in March, and we were going to do it in early May, but between the testing they were having at the schools, and the fact that they they had a play going on, we moved it back,” he said. “A lot of the kids in the contest are multi-talented — they are in the choir and in band and in plays and the Blue Masques — so we wanted to make sure they are all done with those things first.”

This year’s Idol will be held in the afternoon for the first time because that’s when the theater was available, Mr. Wooten said.

Auditions will be held May 15 at Riverhead High School and at the middle school the next day. May 17 may also be used for auditions, he said.

From there, the field will be narrowed down to about a dozen singers for the June 9 show.

“Last year, we had about 40 people audition,” Mr. Wooten said.

The fact that the town doesn’t have a Youth Bureau director this year also may have contributed to the show’s later date, Mr. Wooten said.

“I think there was some confusion as to who would be running this,” he said.

Longtime Youth Bureau director Donna Lyczkowski retired last August and her position was not filled. The recreation department took over those duties.

Mr. Wooten said recreation department superintendent Ray Coyne took the job along with volunteers who served on the Riverhead Youth Advisory Committee and set up the June 9 date. The youth bureau and the advisory committee had produced the event in years past, Mr. Wooten said.

tgannon@timesreview.com

03/06/11 3:19pm
03/06/2011 3:19 PM

Thirteen students competed to see who had the makings of a Kelly Clarkson or a Carrie Underwood at the 2011 Riverhead Idol contest Saturday evening.

The 8th annual event, sponsored by the Riverhead Youth Bureau, was held at Vail-Leavitt Music Hall in downtown Riverhead and featured 13 finalists competing for the top prize. Riverhead Town Councilman Jim Wooten was master of ceremonies at the event, which was themed “Like Totally 80s.”

Riverhead sophomore Emma Bernhardt captured first place this year with her rendition of Alannah’s Myles “Black Velvet.” Second place winner Dakota Cohen rocked the house with Billy Joel’s “Moving Out” and third place winner Savannah Medina impressed the judges with her version of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.”

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JOHN NEELY PHOTO | First-place winner Emma Bernhardt (center) with fellow winners Dakota Cohen (left) and Savannah Medina.