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Rallying 'Idol' votes

Reed Grimm sings with the Minnesota Jazz Orchestra in the background during his mother, Colleen Raye's annual New Year's Eve Concert at the Phipps Center for the Arts.1 / 3
Reed Grimm sings at the Pierce County Fair. Behind him on the drums is Lennie Tumbarello, who is credited with letting the young Grimm sit behind his drum set at an early age, perhaps setting in motion a passion for percussion.2 / 3
Reed Grimm, left and his mom, Colleen Raye clown around in front of the Ellsworth High School bulletin board. Ellsworth High School is hosting a Reed Grimm night Tuesday Feb. 28.3 / 3

Reed Grimm's fate on "American Idol" now rests with viewers.

He advanced into the top 24 contestants after Wednesday night's program. Public voting will begin Tuesday Feb. 28 -- the same night Ellsworth will hold a party at the high school to both celebrate the local graduate's success and help area residents cast votes for him.

Tuesday from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Ellsworth High School will sponsor a Reed Grimm Night. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. The event is free.

Organizers Shelly Moore, Peter Dulak and Mark Stoesz will show that night's "American Idol" episode on the big screen in the cafertorium. This will be the first live show.

During commercial breaks, they will show clips of Grimm through his high school years.

Throughout the evening people can videotape messages to send to Grimm, Moore said. Organizers will record a large group message just prior to the show's start.

"We want Reed to know how much we support him," said Moore, who directed Grimm when he head the lead in the high school musical "Footloose."

Throughout the night "Reed" T-shirts and items from his band Shoeless Revolution will be on sale. Concessions will be available.

Quick learner

Harvey Halpaus, retired Ellsworth instrumental teacher, recalled how Grimm made an impression.

The Fox-TV "American Idol" hopeful was a member of Halpaus' jazz ensembles from grades 7 to 12.

"I recognized his abilities almost immediately," Halpaus said Thursday. "He mastered the Beginning Methods book in a month."

Halpaus said his student, the son of Colleen Raye and the late Steve Grimm who once toured as a family musical act, benefited from that exposure. But he also credited the youth for being "highly motivated."

Grimm received a lot of recognition and earned numerous awards during his high school career.

Halpaus called the "Idol" contestant well-rounded, gifted and a hard worker.

"He was a born leader," the retiree said.

"Everyone liked him," he added. Sometimes someone so talented can offend others, but that wasn't the case with Grimm, who easily made friends.

Halpaus has seen his former student's appearances on the TV show, assessing him as "savvy when it comes to what he's decided to do." He noted that Grimm holds a college degree in percussion plus a lot of experience, which should give him an advantage over other participants.

"He'll do real well in the finals," Halpaus predicted.

Above all, the teacher praised the character of Grimm and his sister, Sophie, another of his past students and a musical standout.

"They're very nice people," he said. "They're very respectful to everyone."