Readers Choice Awards honor local talent
By Afton Bugg
Nevada Daily Mail
Local Ear Music hosted the third annual Readers Choice Awards at Nevada Days Inn Nov. 22, to give Vernon County musical artists recognition and to reward local musicians for their success.
There were numerous artists involved with this event, which was kicked off by a showcase of local talent. During the showcase, new artists performed for people who have not heard their music yet.
One group performing was Down and Out, a soft rock band that likes to "rock people to the early morning," playing 70s and 80s rock. The band includes David Furry, guitarist; Aaron Rorabaugh, drummer; Drew Bower, bass guitarist; and David Bierly, guitarist and lead singer.
Berlin Drop, a band that plays originals and covers, is known for being the "loudest band in Vernon County." Members are Zac Oteno, Josh Smith, and Nathan and Aaron Worba. The band got together in the fall of 2003. They started out as a Christian rock band and now play more modern rock. They have played in Kansas City and Nashville and have recorded their own demo CD.
Doghouse Band also entertained. This country blues band tours mostly in Kansas and Missouri. They played at Maverick's, in Nevada, on Halloween. One of their most recent gigs was in Iola, Kan., and they played at the Road House in Nevada last Saturday night. They love to mix their style of music up, and play anything with a beat.
The Marci Mitchell Band performed before the Awards Ceremony, treating the audience to three of her newest songs that have not been released yet. Mitchell is a country singer-song writer who has piqued the interest of recording labels in Nashville. She grew up in Nevada and considers this her home, and comes back every now and then, sharing her music with her hometown. Mitchell performed in Nevada during the 2005 Bushwhacker Days celebration.
Doug Harper of Local Ear Music noted that he hopes the eclectic mix of bands that entertained during the event will help the public to better understand the mission of Local Ear, saying, "The community, as a whole, is not sure what we are doing. Most think we are just for the rock bands, but we try to find a place for all musicians."
Harper was inspired to start the Readers Choice Awards to create awareness of the underground music and take it to the next level.
Harper said, "There was a need for this event in Vernon County, to bring more awareness to local talent. It gives them mic time and they are able to interact with not only the community but each other. It brings the veterans out and gets the young and old musicians together."
There were 27 awards presented Tuesday evening to Vernon County artists. People voted for their favorite band or singer online, through a poll that received more than 200 votes this year.
Awards began with Favorite Rock Band, Berlin Drop. Another award was The Hero of the Year, which is someone that has gone above and beyond. That award went to David Bierly from Down and Out. It was given to Bierly because he always gives it his all and always wants to play. Favorite Solo Act was Matt Harper, a solo singer-songwriter, from Nevada.
Every year, there is an award given to a Community Council for the Performing Arts member, because of all the support they have given to Local Ear Music. This year, the Favorite Actor award went to Scott Hillier and Favorite Actress award went to Jenna Weston.
The Favorite Bass Guitar award went to Cody Reed of the Doghouse Band and Favorite Piano award went to Randall Elders, a solo keyboard and guitar player. The Favorite Guitar award went to Nathan Worba of the Berlin Drop band. The Favorite Drummer went to Jim Bones, drummer for Dog House band. Favorite Acoustic Vocalist was Tammy Clark, a local resident who sings at events like Bushwhacker Days and Octoberfest.
There was also a Kamikaze award where all the winners and the Favorite Bass Guitar, Guitar, and Drummer got together with Marci Mitchell and played Sweet Home Alabama, by Lynard Skynard.
The Favorite New Act went to Jolly Roger, a punk rock band; and Favorite Live Act went to Berlin Drop. The Favorite Singer-songwriter award went to Erik Gulliford of the Dog House band. The Non-Musician award is presented to someone who went above and beyond just playing in a band. It was awarded to James McIntyre, a newcomer who has been playing drums for about a year and guitar about four months. He is hoping to start a band in the near future.
The Keepin' The Music Alive award is for local businesses that have helped and supported local talents. This award went to Daylight Donuts, located on the east side of the Square.
The Favorite Poet award went to Aaron Worba of the Berlin Drop band and Favorite Punk Rock Band award was presented to Jolly Roger. The Hard Core Alternative Band award ended in a three way tie, going to Berlin Drop, Head Up, and Man Down.
The Favorite Christian Rock Band award went to Berlin Drop and The Favorite Christian Act to Matt Harper. The Coolest Girl award went to Marci Mitchell. The Favorite Blues Band award, The Favorite Blue Grass Band award, and The Favorite Country Band award all went to Dog House Band.
The Favorite Album or Demo award was presented to Berlin Drop making this a total of five awards for the evening. The Favorite Artist award went to a band that came home with 10 awards that evening, Dog House Band.
After the awards ceremony everyone enjoyed a concert that included artists like Randall Elders, a veteran keyboardist and guitar player who has played in Kansas City, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Las Vegas. He has performed at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and the Las Vegas Desert Inn.
Other bands participating in the event were Dog House Band and Harvest Blue, an acoustic duo.
Local Ear Music also makes a CD every year, compiling songs from Vernon County Artists. There is still some space on this year's CD for artists' songs. Anyone who would like to be included on this CD may send a master CD of the song and a money order, made payable to Disk Makers, in the amount of $35 per song to Local Ear P.O. Box 892 Nevada, MO 64772.
Checks are not accepted. Include the title of the song, band name and contact information.
Contact Doug Harper for more details at (417) 684-1732.