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Hastings Sings – on the radio

Hastings Sings, the annual vocal talent competition, is back again. But this time, it’s being done a little differently.

This year, the qualifying round will take place on-air, thanks to some help from Hastings own KDWA radio station. Singers will record their song in the KDWA studio and will be interviewed briefly by the radio host. Judges who live outside the state will listen to the recordings on the air and pick the singers who will advance to the final round, which will again be held live during Rivertown Days. The local contest is sponsored by the Hastings Lions Club.

The idea to put the competition on the radio was inspired in part by the popular reality television show, The Voice (NBC), explained Hastings Sings lead volunteer Chuck Spavin. On the show, the judges base their decisions entirely on how a contestant sounds without being able to see what they look like. For Hastings Sings, the radio performance creates a similar restriction.

For the past few years, Hastings Sings has been a part of a statewide competition, Minnesota Sings. But that larger contest grew out of Hastings Sings. As the founding competition, Spavin said the local committee feels an “obligation” to try different things. If an idea works, it gets passed along to every other city that participates in Minnesota Sings.

“We’re kind of the testing grounds,” Spavin said.

KDWA will record contestants through June 5. The taped performances will play on the air June 20-26 on both KDWA 1460 AM and KDWA 97.7 FM. Air times are 7:35 a.m., 1:35 p.m., 4:35 p.m., 7:35 p.m. and 10:35 p.m.

On July 1, KDWA will announce over the air who will advance to the finals, which will take place Sunday, July 17, at 3:30 p.m. on the main stage at Rivertown Days.

There is no cost to contestants to enter Hastings Sings. The contest is open to those who live, work or go to school in Hastings and will be 15 to 25 years old by the date of Minnesota Sings, which will be Sept. 25 this year.

To schedule a contest recording, singers should contact Experience Shows at 612-202-0802. Experience Shows, based in Hastings, produces the Hastings Sings and Minnesota Sings competitions.

Those who are selected as finalists will perform on stage live in front of a Rivertown Days crowd and for the judges. The winner and runner-up will both represent Hastings at Minnesota Sings and will also get lunch with Mayor Paul Hicks.

The big prizes are reserved for Minnesota Sings; the winner there wins $2,500 cash plus an eight-hour recording session at a top Twin Cities recording studio (worth $1,500), a $1,000 bonus check to present to their hometown charity of choice and a $500 check for their hometown sponsor, which pays the Minnesota Sings registration fee. For Hastings, the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce pays to enter a Hastings contestant into Minnesota Sings.

Minnesota Sings will be held Sunday, Sept. 25, at the Holiday Inn St. Paul East.

For more about Minnesota Sings, go to

For information about Hastings Sings, go to or look for “Hastings Sings” on Facebook.