‘Quest,’ ‘Kiddie Quest’ both rocking successes Jourdain, Shortreed big winners

The Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce’s 11th “Quest for the Best,” which saw Courtney Jourdain and Katelyn Shortreed crowned the winners of “Quest” and “Kiddie Quest,” respectively, was deemed an overwhelming success.
Organizer Dawn Booth said she felt this year’s singing competition was better than ever.
“Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful,” she enthused yesterday. “We completely sold-out; all 2,000 tickets were sold. We’ve had it sell-out before, but we’ve never printed 2,000 tickets before.
“We keep printing more each year.”
Booth admitted organizers were a little worried about changing the day from Wednesday to Monday this year.
“I guess it goes to show people love ‘Quest,’” added Booth, referring to the fact that “Quest,” when held in conjunction with the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, always had been held in the middle of the week.
Booth said she also felt the inaugural “Kiddie Quest” was a hit.
“It’s amazing such little people have such big voices,” she remarked, adding the local Chamber of Commerce definitely will consider holding the contest for younger singers next year.
Booth, who’s been involved with “Quest” since 1998, noted she wanted to thank all the volunteers, sponsors, judges, and emcees who once again made the singing contest possible.
“We appreciate everybody’s continued support of the event,” she said.
“It was an awesome way to kick it all off,” said FFCBC chair Doug Cain. “It worked out well. I know it went beyond our expectations and I’m sure the Chamber’s, as well.”
Jourdain, who originally hails from Lac La Croix but now lives in Thunder Bay, wowed the crowd and judges alike Monday night with her soulful rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Don’t Play That Song” under the big tent at the Sorting Gap Marina.
Not only did Jourdain get the first-place prize of $500, she also won the People’s Choice award for the first set ($150) and the Contestants’ Choice ($100).
This isn’t her first big win at “Quest,” though. In 2002, Jourdain earned second-place honours, walking home with $300 for LeAnnn Rimes’ version of “Purple Rain.”
She also received one of the People’s Choice award ($150) and the Contestants’ Choice prize of $100 at that event.
Tim Grover of International Falls, who also has competed in “Quest” before, claimed the second-place prize of $300 on Monday night, as well as the Most Original prize of $100, for his rendition of Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl.”
And no stranger to “Quest,” Sarah Hebert nabbed the third-place prize of $200 after getting the crowd going with Gretchen Wilson’s “Here For The Party.”
Hebert won the People’s Choice award last year, placed third in 2002, and took first in 2000.
Ed Calder, who sang and played guitar while performing Cinderella’s “Shelter Me,” won the People’s Choice award for the second set ($150).
Cara Coran, another familiar face at “Quest,” claimed the Audience Response prize of $100 after singing Jo Dee Mesina’s “My Give A Damn’s Busted.”
< *c>‘Kiddie Quest’
Meanwhile, 11-year-old Katelyn Shortreed came out on top at the inaugural “Kiddie Quest,” not only taking first-place ($150) but also the Audience Response prize of $50, after singing LeAnn Rimes’ version of “Unchained Melody.”
“I was shocked,” said Shortreed, referring to the moment she heard her named called to come up on stage.
“I had no idea. I was really excited and very overwhelmed,” she added.
Shortreed said she plans on using her winnings towards a guitar she’s been eyeing at Sight & Sound.
Citing “Kiddie Quest” as “a really great experience,” Shortreed noted that when she’s old enough, she looks forward to competing in “Quest for the Best” (“Quest” contestants must be 14 years or older).
While “Kiddie Quest” is a new addition this year, Shortreed herself is no stranger to the stage, placing first in the eight-13 age division at the “Grandstand Jam” in 2003 and then taking third at that event last year.
Shortreed was followed Monday night by second-place winner Ericka Tymkin of Rainy River, who claimed $100 for her rendition of Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman.”
And Bridget Jorgenson of Fort Frances placed third ($75) after singing Hilary Duff’s “Someone’s Watching Over Me.”
All nine performers at “Kiddie Quest” received a $10 gift certificate from Sears Canada, the main “Kiddie Quest” sponsor.
Besides the contestants, audience members also were treated to a few bonus performances Monday night.
Kayla Lauzon, last year’s “Quest for the Best” champ, was on hand to sing two Dolly Parton songs—“Power of Love” and “Rockin’ Years.”
As well, Louis Bruyere of 92.3 FM “The Wolf” sang an original song, “Take This Away,” after the second set was over but before judges announced the winners.
And back-up band “The Faculty,” consisting of Chris Denby, Steve Denby, Rob Donaldson, and Jim Newman, once again proved they’re stars in their own right—having to learn well over 30 songs in the few weeks prior to last night’s event.
“The Faculty” also performed several songs during intermission and while judges calculated the scores.
Cathy Richards and Brian Hagarty emceed both “Kiddie Quest” and “Quest,” and even did an “Austin Powers” bit, featuring Fort High cheerleaders, to open the “Quest” program with a bang.
Judges included tour de Fort director Kim Cornell, 2003 “Quest” winner Alyson Booth and B93 FM personality Mike Freeman.