Quest for the Best

While he may have been the last contestant to perform that night, Marc Desforges was “first” in the judges’ eyes, taking this year’s “Quest for the Best” crown Wednesday night at the Sorting Gap Marina.
A six-time participant in the singing contest, Desforges said he was only in it for fun. But “fun” became $500, as he won many over with his rendition of “Youth Gone Wild” by Skid Row.
“I was probably the one who was the most shocked to hear my name when they were calling out the winners. I was freaking out,” he noted.
“I think Courtney Jourdain should have got it instead of me, but I’m not complaining,” added Desforges.
He remarked that having “Quest” coincide with the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship is a “good idea.” “More people can come out and see the show. And I think the performers like it better, too,” said Desforges.
“It feels better to be able to sing in front of lots of people. I know that’s the way I feel about it,” he added.
“Quest” newcomer Courtney Jourdain of Thunder Bay earned second place honours, walking home with $300 for LeAnnn Rimes’ version of “Purple Rain.”
Jourdain also received the one of the People’s Choice awards ($150) and the Contestant’s Choice prize of $100. These were sponsored by Weeza’s Gifts, Etc. and In-Focus Photography respectively.
And 2000 “Quest” winner Sarah Hebert walked away with the third place prize of $200 with her powerful and confident performance of Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman.”
The first place prize was sponsored by Dr. Mary Ellen Kennedy, while the second and third place prizes were sponsored by Grassy Narrows Lodge and Tammi’s Flowers, Cards and Gifts respectively.
Meanwhile, Jamie Lockman got the Most Original prize of $100 (sponsored by Mario’s Jewellers) for his hard rock version of Britney Spear’s “Hit Me Baby One More Time.”
And Alyson Booth, a very familiar face at “Quest,” won the crowd over with her rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” garnering her the Audience Response prize of $100 (sponsored by Tess’ Kitchen) and one of the two
People’s Choice awards of $100 (sponsored by Northern Lights Credit Union).
“”I always have a good time,” said Booth, who’s been in nine “Quest” events. “There’s always somebody new involved. And you hear everything from heavy metal to a lot more mellow music–there’s a variety of talent.”
She mentioned that, for her, “Quest” is more about entertainment than competition. “It’s the best. And I’m not stopping,” she remarked, adding the event is so popular amongst performers and spectators alike, there should be two a year.
Other performers included : Marie and Leona Grandbois—“Honey, I’m Home” (Shania Twain);
•Kristina Bombay—“You Win My Love” (Shania Twain);
•Christina Sletmoen—“Last Dance” (Donna Summers);
•Charles Fisher—“New Orleans is Sinking” (Tragically Hip);
•Jason Godin—“How You Remind Me” (Nickelback);
•R.J. Noga and Levi Sisco—“Sympathy for the Devil” (Rolling Stones);
•Tarra Malyk—“Daddy’s Hands” (Holly Dunn);
•Patrick Kowalchuk—“Say It Ain’t So” (Weezer);
•Jeremy Wilson and Gary Pattison—“Tripping Billies” (Dave Matthews and Dave Reynolds);
•Katie Steele—“All I Wanna Do” (Sheryl Crow);
•Ashley Sisco–Lila McCann’s “I Wanna Fall in Love”;
•R.J. Comeau—“Lady” (Kenny Rogers);
•Kim Badiuk—“These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” (Billy Ray Cyrus version);
•Don Hyatt—“You Give Love a Bad Name” (Bon Jovi); and
•Branda Avis—“What’s Going On” (4 Non Blondes).
With only one exception (Wilson and Pattison), all the acts were backed up by “The Faculty,” a group consisting of Chris Denby, Steve Denby, Rob Donaldson, and Jim Newman, to whom organizer Dawn Booth was grateful.
“I don’t think people realize how long it takes for the bands to get ready. They basically have to learn 20 new songs,” she remarked.
Booth was thrilled to see the event be successful for yet a third year in conjunction with the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship. “It was awesome. It’s amazing the amount of talent we have in the area,” she remarked. “And working with the bass tournament was great. They’re very co-operative.”
Booth mentioned that while ticket sales may have been slow for weeks before the show, music fans came out of the woodwork to cheer the 20 contestants on. “We were pretty close to being sold out–I think we have 100 tickets left, so that’s about 1,200 people,” she said.
“We were surprised, there were a lot of sales at the door,” added Booth.
This year’s judges included B-93 FM station manager Hugh Syrja, Tracy Williams, co-owner of Warp 9, and Christine Jourdain, economic development officer at Couchiching First Nation.