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Voice activated

John Simmons | May 21, 2019

Scott Squires wins The Voice of Granbury competition with soulful and yodeling tunes.

The audience sat in stunned silence and then began cheering wildly as Scott Squires of tiny DeCordova, Texas, channeled the late Keith Whitley with his soulful rendition of the classic hit “Don’t Close Your Eyes.”  Squires already had charmed the audience earlier in the evening by singing Eddy Arnold’s super-tricky, yodel-filled “Cattle Call.”

Squires was the ultimate winner of The Voice of Granbury, a fundraiser sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Lake Granbury, Texas, and modeled after NBC television’s singing competition “The Voice.” 

The event was the brainchild of Lake Granbury Kiwanis Club member Matt Mills,  who finished second in the competition with his renditions of Andy Gibb’s “I Just Want to Be Your Everything (“I hope you’ll enjoy the falsetto,” he told the audience) and David Allan Coe’s “You Never Even Called Me By My Name.” 

The multi-round competition was held in the middle of January at the filled-to-capacity historic Opera House on the downtown square in Granbury.

“Using the Opera House wasn’t our original idea,” says Mills. “It made us nervous to book a venue with 270 seats, knowing it could wind up half empty.  But when the Opera Houses offered it to us at a low cost, we took them up on it, knowing that if we had a first class venue, we could make it work.”

To promote the event, club members borrowed elements from successful fundraisers of other groups.  As part of the plan, with each ticket purchase, audience members received a handful of tokens used to vote for their favorite singer, but they also could buy additional tokens to use in any round.

“I figured most people would use up their tokens in the first round,” explains Mills, “and want to buy more tokens for the final round.”

As another draw, the club recruited local celebrities to compete.

“We tried for the best of both worlds by getting people who could actually sing, but also getting people who could drive ticket sales,” Mills says. “We had a few elected officials and other well-known names in our community, and a few of them turned out to have more talent than we expected.”

“The Voice” fundraiser was an astonishing success, both on the night of January 17 and beyond.

 “I was onstage that night,” says Mills, “and I can tell you that the audience was electric.”
The event raised close to US$7,000, and Mills expects to exceed that total in the future.
“The publicity was beyond our dreams. We made the front page of the Hood County News and had two other articles written about us. Our videos from the event went viral, with one song by the winner getting more than 6,000 views.”  

Like all good TV shows, “The Voice of Lake Granbury” was so popular that it already has spawned a spin-off.  As the buzz was building, so many people contacted Mills about entering the event that it gave him the idea to sponsor an “Audition Night” in the middle of September 2019, with the top three finishers earning a spot in the main event next January.

“This gives us the benefit of making more money off our popular idea, without having to turn away people who want to participate,” he says.

Mills also intends to sell sponsorships to next January’s competition.

“Our members really enjoyed this event,“ he says, “and the club raised a far greater amount of money than we have with a lot of other things we’ve tried in the past.”

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