LEWISTON — The local talent did not disappoint in the 17th Annual Pine Tree State Country Music’s Talent Search and Competition, with contestants performing smooth gospel music to traditional country tunes. 

The event was held from noon to 6 p.m. at the Silver Spur in Mechanic Falls. 

Sunday’s show, coordinated by Pine Tree State Country Music Association Executive director Joan Cole, consisted of 20 performers across all categories. Each act sang or played two songs per the category in which they had entered. 

The judges were Doralee Buck of West Newfield, Sandi Lynch of Limerick, and Kenny Tibbetts of North Berwick. Tibbetts was also the master of ceremonies.

“I’ve been here since almost day one, and this is the 17th year,” Tibbetts said.

“I used to compete — I went from that to judging,” Buck said. “Years ago, when I would compete, it was a two-day event. But now, its so hard to get the word out there.”

This year’s event lasted about six hours.

“It’s a long day, but I’m stoked,” Buck said. “This is what we live for.”

There were a lot of new faces this year, though, so the judges are hopeful it’s a sign of continued growth.

“I’d love to see the crowds come back,” Buck said. 

Each act was voted on using a score sheet and points system. The judges had seven categories of criteria for which the contestant could be awarded points:

• originality of performance;

• performance arrangement;

• star quality;

• tightness of performance;

• stage presence;

• excellent reflection of the category; and

• overall rating.

Performances ranged from original acoustic songs, instrumental pieces and country/rock covers.

Crowd favorite The Tyler Healy Band, out of Corinth said they enjoyed their first time performing at the contest.

“We’ve only been around for a year,” Healy said about the group. “We were at an open jam with some friends and someone there asked us to play with them.”

The band is currently performing mostly at bars and festivals, but are excited to see where the road takes them, Healy said.

“We’ll travel anywhere,” he said. 

The band is made up of Tyler Healy, 23; Josh Webber, 27; and Ben Goodwin, 24. 

“We’re hoping to record a small album this year, with some original songs.” Healy said. “Right now, we have a full schedule and we’re fortunate for that.”

Winners from the competition will be announced at the May 15 award show. 

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