THREE OAKS — The winner of The Acorn Theater’s 2019 Singer-Songwriter Contest is a recent high school graduate who wowed a full house with her ukulele-accompanied tune inspired by a literary classic.
Chesterton, Ind., native Priscilla Sabourin, singing “Ms. Gatsby,” was chosen as this year’s winner after the judges moved her into the finals against Marcus & Marketo of South Bend, Ind., and Aye Cay of Goshen, Ind., who tied for second.
The judges, and lead-off performers for the evening, were Robin Bienemann, Patti Shaffner and Jim Peterik.
The performers, who presented original songs on one instrument, were: Abbie Thomas of Goshen, Ind., (playing “Fireflies”); Larry Zenk of St. Joseph (“Don’t Feel Like Doin’ Much Anymore”); Sabourin; Terry Farmer of Ann Arbor (“Love is Inclined”); Cay (“The Deluge”): Wendy Martin of Elkhart, Ind., (“Stronger Than You Know”); Stephen Bruce of La Porte, Ind., (“Never Say Goodbye”); and Marcus & Marketo (“You Are”).
The judges picked the three finalists, and the audience voted for their favorite after another round of performances.
Sabourin said she’s been writing songs since she was in the seventh grade. She started on the ukulele, so it was fitting that her “first big performance out of high school” would involve that instrument.
“This song was inspired by one of my favorite English class books, so I hope you all enjoy ‘Ms. Gatsby,’” she told the audience.
They did, and the judges let her know it.
Peterik said the song was filled with clever rhymes and called Sabourin “an old soul.”
“What really impressed me was your presentation, because you actually acted out the whole song,” he said.
Shaffner said she loved the “post-modern jukebox” tune.
Cash prizes totaled $1,500, with $1,000 going to Sabourin.
The finalists also will receive video recordings of their performance and consideration for future performing opportunities. The winner is guaranteed an opening spot at The Acorn.