In just over one month, we will be inviting 28 singers to join us in Savannah and put American music to the test - as we do every year: To invite them to pit the mettle of Mercer against the grandeur of gospel or the ovation of opera. They will, of course combine their varied songs in programs to compete for the Gold Medal on February 27th, 2015. But to guide them through, as well as our audience, we will need trusted professionals to judge the goings-on. To this end, we are thrilled to announce our three judges for the 2015 American Traditions Competition.

First, we have a judge who has joined us before - last year, in fact. Broadway Conductor and Music Director Kristen Blodgette will head up our group of three. She gave of her talents and time in such a generous fashion last year that we had to invite her back. And, as last year, she will give our Master Class, in which some of our Quarterfinalists are asked to sing, Thursday of ATC week.

Second, we have a wonderful, Tony-nominated composer and performer to join us: Jim Wann. He also happens to be a Savannah resident. Lucky for us, he has agreed to join us and share not only his discerning expertise in the performing arts, but he will be entertaining us at our Judges' Concert, held at the Historic Savannah Theatre, on Thursday of ATC week.

And thirdly, we have another judge with a lifetime of performing. In the case of Ron Raines, this includes music, theater and television with both Emmy and Tony nominations. He has led a diverse career on the stage and television that makes him the perfect man to round out not only our duo for the judges' concert, but more importantly, our team of judges as a whole.

We invite you to read their bios by clicking on the 'Judges' link on the left column - and also search for them online. You're bound to find out more wonderful information about. We at the ATC, are thrilled to have them join us and we trust them implicitly along with our singers to make our 22nd year the best ever.

Tickets will soon be on sale for ATC week, which begins in earnest on Monday, Feb 23rd with the Quarterfinals at the Skidaway Island United Methodist Church and will continue through to the Finals at the historic Savannah Theatre on Feb. 27th.

Stay tuned for the lineup of our 28 contestants. Our application deadline is October 27th. So for those singers out there who have been on the fence about whether or not to apply, we say, "apply now!"

Vale Rideout
Artistic Consultant
American Traditions Competition

Photo by John Carrington