Barlow senior and singer-songwriter tie for first place in third annual competition
by: Rob Cullivan Travis McDaniel, a student at Mt. Hood Community College, wowed the audience  with his rendition of the Bill Withers' classic tune

Andrew Norlen, a senior at Barlow High School, and Bo Baskoro, a 22-year-old restaurant server and Christian youth minister, tied for first place at this year's East County's Got Talent competition Friday, April 20, at East Hill Church, 701 N.E. Main Ave.

Norlen moved audience members with a powerful rendition of 'Bring Him Home,' from the musical 'Les Miserables.' Norlen dedicated the tune to troops serving overseas.

The competition's three judges - Anjela Stellato, a singer and actress; Dalene Young, a writer and actress; and Jim E. Chonga, disc jockey on Oldies 106.7 FM - showered Norlen with praise after his performance.

'I had goose bumps on that last note,' Young told Norlen.

Meanwhile, Baskoro echoed such folk rock acts as Mumford and Sons with his original tune 'What I Wouldn't Do.'

Baskoro played guitar and sang, and was accompanied by a violist and a violinist. After his performance, Stellato asked him what the song was about.

'It's just about a crush,' he said. 'I would be as manly - or not as manly - as you want,' he added, drawing laughs from the audience.

Stellato joked that Baskoro should meet her daughter.

'You are very talented, and you'd fit well in my family,' she said.

Out on the town

Hundreds of folks filled the church for the third annual event, which featured 10 finalists drawn from a pool of contestants who auditioned in March.

The panel of judges as well as people who voted online during the competition selected the winners. Sponsors included Riverview Community Bank, The Outlook, Metro East Community Media and Creative Visions Landscapes Inc. The Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the event. State Rep. Greg Matthews, D-Gresham, was master of ceremonies.

For their efforts, Norlen and Baskoro each won $500 and a laptop from RADIAH Technologies.

The evening featured mostly singers, with some notable twists. Last year's winner, Kevin Minkoff, danced with a mannequin as he performed 'Hey There' from 'The Pajama Game.'

Pianist Nick Drum performed an original upbeat number that sounded a bit like a Jackson Browne piece and that bemoaned how cell phone cameras were keeping folks from living in the moment.

Miss Lopez, a banjo player and singer, and Dan Weber, a country-style guitarist-singer, moved the audience with back-to-back ballads about her mother and his father respectively. Meanwhile, Yesterday's Country played some rootsy honky tonk music, which folks cheered.

Chuck Par-Due sang 'The Lady is a Tramp' and blew his trumpet for an appreciative audience. He added that he had performed for three presidents - Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Travis McDaniel, a student at Mt. Hood Community College, pulled out the Bill Withers chestnut 'Use Me.' A member of Genesis, a vocal group at Mt. Hood, he told the judges, 'I didn't like high school, but I'm kind of digging college.'

Liberian immigrant Romeo Diahn put in the most joyous performance of the night, singing and dancing all over the stage to a reggae tune.

'I was thinking I want something with a little umbrella in it when I was listening to it,' Stellato said.

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