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Recent Graduates Zach Kramer and Leia Wasbotten to Compete in Centre Sings

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Zach Kramer lying across group

If you’re one of the 122 million who casts votes weekly in the TV hit show American Idol, discovers America’s Next Top Model, or knows which designer makes it work best in Project Runway, you’ll be happy to know that you can give your opinion – and dollars – to select who competes in a countywide vocal contest.

Voting for contestants in Centre Sings ends May 16.

If you're a Penn Stater, you may want to cast your vote to the five Penn State students who have entered the competition to raise money for Centre County families.

Centre Sings is a Centre County vocal competition in its second year. Singers of all ages will compete June 6 for a $1,000 grand prize and raise money for low-income families in financial crisis served through Interfaith Human Services. A panel of expert judges will select the finalists and winners.

Contestants submitted 90-second a cappella videos to enter the competition. Videos can be accessed through the competition website, or viewed on the Centre Sings Youtube Channel

The public also gets a chance to vote for contestants they feel should compete in the finals on June 6 by donating to the contestants either via the PayPal donate button on the competition website, or to the contestants directly.  The contestant who raises the most money will be presented the Community Impact Award. Two wildcard contestants will be determined from the community fundraising, giving contestants a second chance if eliminated by judges.

Finalists will be announced Saturday, May 16, at a Benefit Concert. Two local teens, Hannah Richardson and Riley Roth, will headline the concert at 7 p.m. at St. Paul's United Methodist Church.

“Centre Sings is truly a community event,” said Ruth Donahue, executive director of Interfaith Human Services. “Those competing are fundraising, Penn State students are assisting with the contest’s execution, volunteers are organizing it, judges give their time and expertise, sponsors generously donate, the public buys tickets and anyone in the world can donate to the contestants by going to the website. Talk about a village. This is truly a show of unity for the families we serve.”

Would-be contestants can continue to register to compete until April 30, although voting for contestants begins April 1. Contestants must upload a 90-second a cappella audition tape, pay a registration fee and fundraise on their own to compete. Complete rules are found at

The competition is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Centre County. Amateur soloists and groups of up to 12 may compete. The overall winner will receive $1,000 with awards of $250 each for the top soloist and group.
The fundraising competition will take place at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church June 6 in hopes of raising $15,000 for Interfaith Human Services, a nonprofit collaboration among 29 local faith communities in its 46th year.

All of the funds raised from Centre Sings are used to help low-income Centre County residents served through Interfaith Human Services.  Residents receive assistance with rent, heating fuel, security deposits, prescriptions as well as money management classes.
Centre Sings is organized and run entirely by volunteers. Centre Daily Times, Order Up and Nittany Mall have all joined on as sponsors. Along with amateur contestants, more volunteers and sponsors are needed. All donations are tax deductible.

The inaugural 2014 event raised more than $6,000.  Hannah Richardson, a State College Area School District middle schooler, took home the top honors. Isaiah Idu raised $1,500 to earn the Community Impact Award. Wasbotten and Kramer participated in 2014. Kramer won runner-up in the 2014 contest.

For more information on how to volunteer or donate, visit


Leia Wasbotten, College of Arts and Architecture, BA Music Degree, '15

Becca Kling, College of education, rehabilitation and human services major, graduating 2016

Taliya Michelle Riesterer, Telecommunications & Integrative Arts 15'

Julie Bouchard, College of Education, Middle School Social Studies Major '16

Zach Kramer, College of Arts and Architecture.  Integrative Arts & Music Production '15