News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012
EVANS, Ga. -- After a summer-long competition, five artists are ready to perform for Columbia County's Amateur Series finale this Saturday.
It's an opportunity of a lifetime for some of these musical guests.
More than 80 local groups auditioned to be a part of the summer concert series, and now it's down to five. The winner will be getting exposure that money can't buy.
"We've worked all summer long for this," said Sandy Boner, the manager of the Columbia County Rental Facility and Venues.
"It's just all been a blur. It has been a wonderful experience and a wonderful journey and also bittersweet because you kind of get attached to the contestants, too," said Calie Cook, administrative coordinator.
After 10 weeks of performances, the field was narrowed down from 40 to just five: She'nShe, Steel Cross, Pyroteque, Miranda P. and Dayz to Come.
"We just decided, yeah let's go for it and when we made it through the first round, everybody was just like ... oh my gosh," explained Andrea Suarez, a member of She'nShe.
And now the finalists are gearing up for Saturday's finale.
"It's amazing, it's what we can't wait for, to see everybody getting into the music and being a Christian band, we always have another motive and that's to express our faith also with music," said Gordon Carver, a member of Dayz to Come.
The prize package here is an artist's dream. Free studio time, a website, gift cards, a featured magazine article, an audition on America's Got Talent ... and they're not done there.
"The newest prize package is -- whoever is selected -- is going to open up for Eddie Money and Starship on Oct. 12, so we're super excited about that," Cook said.
"The way they've set it up, it really can help launch somebody," Carver said.
"This should be everything than an up-and-coming performer or group needs to get the word out about them," Boner said.
Get the word out -- and hopefully become the next big thing.
"I think this competition has shown that there's a lot more talent in this town than people give Augusta credit for," said Brandy Douglas, a member of She'nShe.
"We wanted to inspire them and encourage them and say 'Hey, where you're from, we believe in you and we want to see you succeed,'" Cook said.
This is the first year for the event and they already have plans for summer 2013. The finale is Saturday, Sept. 8. There's a pre-show starting at 5 p.m. featuring some of the other contestants, then the finalists take the stage at 7 p.m. There will be vendors and the event is free.