Rookie tops at ‘Quest’

Zoey Duncan

An explosive vocal duel between Charity Alverson and Brittany Hayes put the exclamation mark on an evening packed with musical artistry during the annual “Quest for the Best” singing competition last night.
The pair captured first place in the “Novices” and “Veterans” sets, respectively, before they took on Queen’s exuberant “Don’t Stop Me Now” in the inaugural battle round at “Quest.”
The crowd cheered on the singers, who traded verses in the tune they only had rehearsed individually with back-up band, “The Faculty.”
In the end, judges Christa Pare, Lindsay Hamilton, and Sandra Allan chose Alverson, a first-time “Quest” performer, as winner of the $1,000 grand prize.
Alverson also took home the Show Sponsor and Dark Horse awards for her performance of “No One” by Alicia Keys during the first set.
The Audience Response award went to Allan McDonald, Zach Jolicoeur, and Jeff Gustafson for their rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird.”
In the first set, comprised of 12 relative newcomers to the competition, McDonald, Jolicoeur, and Gustafson finished second behind Alverson.
Kristi McQuay won the audience’s vote, taking the People’s Choice award for her performance of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”
The “Veterans” set, meanwhile, included 2010 winner Kayla Lauzon, who won both the People’s Choice award and second place this year behind Hayes after belting out “Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga.