National Blind Idol winner from Rural Hall

National Blind Idol winner from Rural Hall
August 11
06:55 2016



More than 200 people filed into the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) last Saturday evening to see who would take home the title of National Blind Idol.

The brainchild of Anastasia Powell and Chris Flynt, National Blind Idol began last year with help from the Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind (IFB), an organization that provides employment, training and other services to people who are blind or visually impaired. Powell who currently serves as the adult program manager for the Brighter Pathway Foundation, a non-profit that raises money for IFB, said the competition started off as just something fun to do that turned into much more.

“It’s an amazing feeling to see how much the competition has grown in just one year,” said Powell. “To have some thing start on the local level and grow into a national competition in such a short period of time is just amazing.”

While last year’s competition featured only contestants from North Carolina, this year the competition received submissions from visually impaired singers from across the nation, including Nevada, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Missouri, and of course North Carolina.

Powell said with the amazing performances they provide, matched with publicity from local and national news media, the competition will continue to grow. Although she’s not a singer herself, Powell said she just enjoys encouraging others to take to the stage.

“I feel confident that as the word continues to spread, the competition will continue to grow like wildfire,” she said. “At Industries for the Blind, we believe people have the right to succeed in every area of life and we just wanted to offer them this platform to pursue their musical talents.”

Flynt, who is a musician and director of low-vision services for IFB, said although putting the competition together is challenging, seeing the performers face their fears and take to the stage is worth it.

After surviving the first two rounds of competition which were held earlier this year, five finalists battled for the grand prize of $1,000. This year’s finalists were Claire Culbreath and Howard Patterson from Winston-Salem, Charity Hampton from Rural Hall, and Kimberly Taylor and Taffany Bolger who are from Charleston, S.C.

To begin the final round, contestants sung together before singing two songs each while judges decided who would take home the 2016 title. While each contestant moved the crowd during their performances, the on-stage presence of Charity Hampton stole the show and earned her the grand prize.

Along with a check for $1,000, Hampton will also receive the chance to record in a professional studio and a professional headshot, not to mention bragging rights for the year. After winning the competition, family and friends flooded the stage to congratulate Hampton. Later that evening, she took to Facebook to express her emotions.

“It was such an honor to compete against such amazingly talented people,” said Hampton. “I would like to thank everyone who has made this competition possible, especially the employees of IFB and the volunteers.

“I can’t thank you all enough for all of the love and support through all this.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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