We are please to announce we are teaming up with KYOU Fox 15 to bring you Heartland Idol at St. John’s Auditorium on September 6. The winner of the competition will advance to the American Idol tryouts in Minneapolis. Hotel and airline ticket included in the prize package.
Meet our Judges:
DIANA UPTONHILL is a national touring & recording artist. At a young age, Diana began singing with her dad’s band and performing solos for school and church concerts. Now a versatile performer, she has become a national talent; active in the regional music scene, performing on television, joining symphony orchestras as featured soloist, and starring in numerous theatrical productions. Her favorite roles include: Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella in Into the Woods and Ellen in Miss Saigon.
She has several recordings to her credit – “Restoration”, “Christmas Divine”, and “Sparkle”, as well as many commercial jingles and voiceovers. You may have even seen her on tour this past year with rising Country star, Mitch Goudy, with whom she’s written several songs and regularly providing background vocals on his projects. Look for Diana’s latest single, “Do Love Well”, set to release this Fall to national country radio.
Mitch Goudy is a small town boy from a close-knit, rural Iowa family who has burst onto the country music scene with 2 singles recently hitting the Music Row Breakout Chart. Every time he picks up his guitar and starts to sing, you know this guy not only has the roots for authentic country music, but the heart to back it up.
Hailing from the cornfields of southeast Iowa, Mitch grew up with a sense of pride about who he is and a strong notion of what he believes. His interest in country music began when he first picked up a guitar after suffering a traumatic knee injury that would forever limit his ability to play sports. His dad bought him that first guitar, put it in his hands and said, “let’s see what you can do.” At that moment, Mitch found his passion.
Since then, he has been rocking stages large and small across the country. He’s become a regular at saloons and clubs, wows crowds at state and county fairs alike, and has even opened for top acts around the country including Joe Nichols, Rodney Atkins, and the Oak Ridge Boys. Mitch recent single “Ain’t My Fault” is currently available on iTunes.
Justin Hill is an entrepreneur, musician, and marketer that has worked with Grammy, Emmy, Tony, and Oscar Award winning talent over a career that has spanned more than 15 years. With a tremendous work ethic and an eye for the “IT” factor, Justin continues to bring projects to life for theaters, artists, symphony orchestras, and other companies around the country.
Larry Gawronski is the Executive Director for Bridge View Center in Ottumwa, managed by VenuWorks – a firm based out of Ames, Iowa that specializes in private management of theaters, arenas, convention centers and stadiums.
Larry has been managing convention centers, theaters and arenas since 1978, producing concert, theatrical and pageant productions and promoting concerts with artists ranging from Tony Bennett to Guns N’ Roses and Florida Georgia Line.
A graduate of the State University College of New York at Buffalo, Larry has performed in numerous professional and community theatrical productions. He operated state franchises of a nationally recognized teenage scholarship pageant in New York, Connecticut and Ohio as an emcee, co-producer and assistant choreographer and was emcee of the national pageant in Atlanta, Georgia. He was active with the Miss Mississippi Pageant from 1995 through 201.
In addition to his public career, Larry is the Chairman of the Certified Facilities Executive Board for the International Association of Venue Managers and serves on the Board of Directors for the Rotary Club of Ottumwa, the River’s Edge Arts and Cultural Committee and the Riverfront Renaissance Committee under the direction of the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation.
Originally from Clinton Iowa, Jeff Leonard has established himself as one Iowa’s premier rock vocalists. For over 25 years, he has fronted some of the area and states most influential and successful rock groups.
A founding member of the progressive metal bands Clutch Divine, Krete and Lye 77, Jeff has entertained thousands of rock and roll enthusiasts . Now with his band, The Crushers, Jeff and fellow band mates and turned their focus to classic rock from the 80s and 90s and some country music, primarily focusing on large area events. Jeff Leonard is also a seasoned theatrical director. Directing Ottumwa Community Players hit musicals “The Producers” and “Les Miserables”. And Jeff has also been featured on stage, and was recently seen this summer as Corny Collins, in the American Gothic Performing Arts production of Hairspray The Musical. A classically trained singer, Jeff Leonard is no stranger to any audience or any genre of music. But feels most at home fronting a rock band and entertaining those who share this passion for rock music.