“I’ve got to go judge,” I said to my husband.
“What is it this time?” he asked.
It was a valid question, because in the past 30 years or so, I’ve judged everything from meat loaf to homecoming displays to models, pageant contestants, swimsuits made of fruit, fashion designs, sewing contests and even rabbit costumes.
That last one was a bit of a surprise. I thought I was going to judge kids dressed up as rabbits, but it was actually rabbits dressed in costumes. That was decades ago, and I still remember the magician rabbit won.
Recently I had the pleasure of judging young people singing. It was for the Voice of the Children Kids4Kids competition. The finalists perform at a fundraiser on March 11 at Crestview Country Club. Proceeds go to support underprivileged children in the Wichita area. In the past 10 years, the group has donated more than $100,000 to local agencies that help these children. For more information, call 316-737-4161.
This was one of the many times I felt underqualified to be a judge, but of course I gave it my best shot. Other judges were Deanne Zogleman, director of music at Newman University; James Oliphant, who works at New York Life and is music director of the Delano Wind Ensemble; and J.J. Hayes, on-air personality at KFDI Radio. Deanne and James had judged this competition before. And needless to say, they know a lot about music.
Each contestant came in, said their name and what they would sing in their allotted one minute. For some, it was most certainly the longest one minute of their life. And they sang without accompaniment.
The word that crossed my mind 1,000 times was “confidence.” When a girl in the third grade stands tall and sings out while looking the judges in the eye, one at a time, you know there’s a girl with confidence.
When a high school boy walked in, hit his mark, smiled, belted out a great tune and then graciously thanked the judges, I had to wonder whether he’s Broadway bound.
My next judging job was at the Women’s Fair, where I was a judge for the annual Models and Images Model Search. I’ve judged this competition many times, and it doesn’t get any easier.
One of my fellow judges was Mary Ann VanSickle, who can spot a potential model at 100 paces. She founded Model and Images, now owned by Alleigh Allen. This is a tough gig, because the models walk out to the end of the stage, turn and walk back. We have to be fast, to say the least. But this method must work, because several Model Search winners have been very successful, appearing in major fashion magazines and walking the runway for New York and European designers.
Regardless of what I end up judging, I’m always impressed with the courage it took for a person to get up there and give it a try.
Except for the rabbit dressed as a magician. He didn’t have a choice.
Reach Bonnie Bing at firstname.lastname@example.org.