Nicky Martin
Two town locals and two Idyllwild Arts Academy music students landed spots in the semifinals of the Voice of the Valley singing competition, VOV Artistic Director Alexander Yepremian said. Isabella Magonna and Rhonda Legate, of Idyllwild, and Idyllwild Arts students Nicholas “Nicky” Martin and Alex Keller are semifinalists.

VOV, renamed from “Hemet’s Got Talent,” is in its second year. According to Yepremian, the competition was expanded this year to a larger geographic area and competition was limited to singing only.

The two-month event is designed to shine a spotlight on the Hemet Valley’s emerging arts scene. “We’re holding this competition to promote the arts in this valley,” Yepremian said. “The first year was just Hemet and San Jacinto, this year we conducted auditions throughout the valley — in Hemet, Idyllwild, Temecula and Menifee. Also this year the production of the semifinals and finals will be much more elaborate with live musicians and greater production values.”

Alex Keller

According to Yepremian, 98 contestants sang in the first round. Judges whittled that number down to 30 semifinalists, four from Idyllwild and the majority of the others from Hemet. Eight finalists will be chosen at the semifinals at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 27 at the historic Hemet Theater on Florida Avenue.

Finalists will perform a Mother’s Day and Memorial Day concert in Hemet and will also appear at free concerts in each of the communities from which finalists hail. The contest winner will be chosen at finals on June 9, also at the Hemet Theater.

The first-place singer receives $1,000 and an audition with Disney.

Yepremian, himself a Broadway, London West End and television soap opera veteran, said that a percentage of proceeds from VOV ticket sales and events will go to Habitat for Humanity, the Community Pantry and the Valley View Foundation, which is working to revitalize the Hemet Theater.

IA students Martin and Keller said they are excited to be included.

Martin plans to sing in the Sinatra pop vein with “The Best is Yet to Come,” and Keller with an Alicia Keys song, “If I Got You.”

The other two local contestants were not available for interviews.

For more information contact or call (915) 743-0872.