RUMFORD — The 6th Annual Voices of the Valley singing competition will be adding a new category for applicants when it returns Saturday, Jan. 19.

According to resident Diane Mitchell, who is in charge of organizing the competition, singers will be allowed to apply to the competition in the new “duet” category. In previous years, the competition consisted of three categories: youth, teen and adult. 

“We always have people calling, asking if there are new categories,” Mitchell said. “We asked around and found someone to sponsor the new category. We’re still figuring out how to judge the performances, but right now, it’s just one more piece of excitement.”

This year’s judging panel will consist of Tammy Schmersal, Michelle Chick, Keith Grassette and Elaine Michaud. Mitchell said she tried reaching Scott Dunbar, the music teacher from Dirigo Elementary School, to see if he’d be interested in judging, but hasn’t heard from him yet. She also said that she tries to rotate the judges each year.

Mitchell said the judges follow a rubric in deciding how a singer does in the competition. In previous years, applicants were judged on intonation, presentation (stage presence, appearance and energy), tonal quality and control, technique (accuracy of notes, breathing posture and correct rhythm), interpretation (phrasing, style and originality) and diction (clarity of consonants, naturalness and purity of vowels).

Prizes will be awarded to the two singers who are ranked the highest in each category. A prize of $100 will be presented to the first-place winner, while the second-place winner will receive $50. The top singer overall will also be awarded another $100.

The competition will take place at Mountain Valley High School. There is a $5 admission fee. Singers pay $10 to register. All proceeds will go to the Cancer Action Network, a sister organization of the American Cancer Society. The network “strictly deals with legislators on the state and federal level to ensure that programs dedicated to cancer research are protected,” Mitchell said.

She said her motivation to create a singing competition in Rumford came after watching “America’s Got Talent.”

“I was watching those singing shows and started thinking, ‘Hey, we could do that here,’” Mitchell said. “At first, it started out slow, but it’s growing every year.”

Applications for the competition can be picked up at Davis Florist on Congress Street.

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