Seventeen-year-old MaKayla Brownlee of Wellington, Kan., wasn’t just the winner of the Derby Recreation Commission’s 150th Sing-Off competition on Saturday night – she also has proven she can roll a pretty mean bowling ball. Brownlee won a $5000 scholarship as winner of a 2014 Rockford, Ill., bowling tournament.
Brownlee set the bowling ball aside on Saturday night and picked up her guitar giving the judges good reason to crown her as Derby’s first Sing-Off winner. The guitar-playing vocalist performed “Creep” by Radiohead as her first selection in the opening round of the competition, and in the final round she performed “Travelin Soldier” by the Dixie Chicks.
The opening round consisted of 10 artists out of the 17 total registrations received for the competition. The 10 performers were selected from the 17 by DRC officials after listening to audition tapes received during the open registration. Those top 10 then performed for the final prize on Saturday.
Brownlee was one of three finalists selected from the 10 performers out of Saturday night’s first round. The other two individuals that moved on to the final round were J. Michael Terrell and Josh Turner, both of Derby. Brownlee says that Carrie Underwood has been a musical influence to her.
Judges for the event included Derby Mayor Randy White, KSN-TV News Anchor Stephanie Bergman and Dr. Charles Turley, a member of the voice faculty at Friends University. Turley is also an accomplished vocalist and has performed in a number of operatic roles.
As winner Brownlee received a $300 cash prize. Terrell was selected as First Runner-up and received a $150 cash prize, and Turner was selected as Second Runner-up in the competition and received a prize package.
Derby Sing-Off top 10 contestants
Amelia Connor – age 16, Wichita
Kimberly Ward – age 36, Derby
MaKayla Brownlee – age 17, Wellington
Melvin Srader – age 84, Derby
Olivia Prue – age 12, Derby
Riley Kellogg – age 17, Haysville
J. Michael Terrell – age 26, Derby
Josh Turner – age 45, Derby
Abby Jolicoeur – age 19, Derby
Abbey Griffin – age 20, Derby