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top 3 560The top three participants of Harvest Star Search were Lauren Irwin (left) of Saugeen Shores, Kiera Shepard of London, and Serena Rutledge of Kincardine (right).

Hub Staff

Kincardine’s Serena Rutledge, age 15, took top spot at Bruce Telecom’s Harvest Star Search competition at Port Elgin Pumpkinfest, October 1. Contestants under the age of 19 were asked to perform two acts with the top three acts participating in a third and final round.

This year’s Harvest Star Search competition saw seven entrants - all girls, a number down from previous years.

After completing the first two rounds local judges Deb McLaren, Kindermusik with Deb; Erin Milley-Patey, Saugeen Shores Youth Choir and Marlene Borsella, music teacher, said they had a tough job narrowing down the competition to just three performers.

In the end Lauren Irwin of Saugeen Shores placed third, second place went to 2014 winner Kiera Sheperd of London, with first place going to Rutledge, the Kincardine District Secondary School student who composed and performed her own songs.

“It was really difficult,” said McLaren after the competition. “There’s a lot of talent and a lot of really awesome performers too. The scores were really close.”

McLaren admitted she enjoyed seeing all the talent that crossed the stage and explained why Rutledge won the competition. “You could tell that she is a very talented person. She has the musical background, she's clearly prepared and to have her own original music that is of a high quality, that really set her apart,” McLaren said.

Following her win Rutledge said that she has been singing since she was 4 years old. She also plays piano and guitar and wanted to enter the Harvest Star Search competition because she was looking for more experience performing and was happy that she could do it locally.

Rutledge performed three original songs, Why Can’t I, I Didn’t Know, and Waiting to Move on. “It’s a pretty cool feeling,” Rutledge said of her win, adding that she “wasn’t expecting it so it was nice.”

serena 560Kincardine’s Serena Rutledge performing her original, I Didn’t Know during the Harvest Star Search competition at Port Elgin Pumpkinfest, October 1.

lauren Irwin 560Contestant Lauren Irwin, age 13 of Saugeen Shores, during the Harvest Star Search competition October 1, at Pumpkinfest.

judges 560The judges, Deb McLaren (left), Erin Milley-Patey and Marlene Borsella (right) had some tough decisions to make during the Harvest Star Search, competition October 1.

Gracienne 560Last year’s winner Gracienne Swarbrick of Port Elgin, during the Harvest Star Search competition, October 1.

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