Who’s your Vail Idol?
VAIL ” When U.S. troops dropped the first bombs of the Iraq war in March 2003, local resident Barrett Buscher, now 11, was living in Spain with his family, watching the events unfold from the outside on European news channels.
Unlike the sanitized war coverage airing over U.S. television, Barrett saw images of Marine bodies being dragged through the streets and civilians laying lifeless in neighborhoods. The Iraq war wasn’t the only clash of arms he was exposed to. Barrett also watched coverage on train bombings and the wars in Afghanistan and Africa. The grim reality of war took ahold of Barrett, inspiring him to complete his first song ” “War Ain’t the Answer.”
“I’ve always thought war ain’t the answer,” Barrett said. “If there is a conflict between countries, I think we can solve it peacefully.”
During his two-year stay abroad, he and his family traveled to 18 different countries, including Egypt, Morocco and India. He played with a lot of Muslim kids, and despite the negative stereotype in America, Barrett said they all were “real nice.” His two best friends hailed from Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“I wanted my kids to see our country from the outside,” Rod Buscher, Barrett’s father, said. “So someday they can make a difference by understanding.”
Tuesday during the Vail America Days Parade, Barrett will perform “War Ain’t the Answer” on the Vail Daily float as part of the newspaper’s Vail Idol competition. Emulating the hit TV show “American Idol,” 12 contestants will compete, and three judges, each taking on one of the “American Idol” judges’ personalities (Randy, Paula or Simon), will vote and publicly critique the singers over the parade’s PA system. Although Barrett has dreams of rock stardom, the parade, he said, is another venue to communicate his message.
“I want them to think about how many people have died in war and how they would still be alive,” Barrett said. “We need to stop war. It’s wrong. We need to do it peacefully. Is this a good example for the future?”
The three judges are looking for vocal talent, even though some of the contestants, like Barrett, will play guitar with their songs. The third-place winner receives $200, second place receives $300, and the first-place winner receives $500 and an opportunity to open up for a Hot Summer Nights concert at the Ford Amphitheater.
According to Mark Bricklin, marketing director at the Vail Daily and organizer of Vail Idol, the contest is not a kids talent show. The youngsters who did make the cut, Bricklin said, deserve to compete. The 12 finalists were narrowed down from about 35 entries.
In a valley filled with kids theater and talent shows, longtime local Nancy Shannon Spigener said she was happy to see a singing competition with no age limit.
“If I want to sing, I have to grab my guitar and go down to the club and do open mic or perform with a friend,” Nancy said.
Single mother of three, Nancy said she doesn’t have much time to perform anymore. Nancy’s been singing ever since she was a little girl. Inspired by her dad, who was a singer, she was raised on such songstresses as Barbara Streisand and Linda Rondstadt. In her 20s, she sang out with a band in Austin, Texas, jamming in the same clubs that Stevie Ray Vaughan was performing in at the time. She currently teaches vocal lessons in the valley. Nancy is going to perform Martina McBride’s “Independence Day.”
“It gives me a chance to belt out, whisper a little bit, and belt out again,” Nancy said.
If she wins, Nancy said the money will go toward her son’s college fund, who is currently a sophomore in college.
Contestant Jeniece Pettitt is also using Vail Idol as an outlet to perform. The employee at Plum TV said she has hadn’t an opportunity to sing out public since college, where she was a member of the Colorado acapella group Extreme Measures.
“Singing acapella is definetly challenging,” Jeneice said. “You don’t only have to find a good, amazing voice, what is difficult is to find a voice that blends with other voices.”
Jeneice will sing “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries” from the musical “Fosse.” Other competitors include Sean Pack, Jeanella Turner, Callie Nixon, Beth Milton, Angela Brightwell, Kayte Kelley, Troy Harris, Ethan Billingsley and Molly Brooks.
“The best places to watch the performances is Checkpoint Charlie, outside Pepi’s and in Lionshead by Subway,” Bricklin said.
Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 748-2938.