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2009: A very good year for Manteca Idol
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The writing on the wall started to shine through the minute that East Union High School and Community Choir Instructor Anne Talcott told her that she had been one of the best in the competition.

It would only be a matter of time before her delicate voice and friendly demeanor helped her secure the 2009 Manteca Idol title after months of preparing, rehearsing, and performing on a weekly basis in a fundraiser that benefits the Boys and Girls Club in conjunction with their annual Telethon.

Shellie Hoyt has made her mark.

On top of her winning the Manteca Idol title, she also appropriately got the “Dark Horse” award from the Idol committee after she just kind of emerged from the pack – one of the most talented and fun-loving groups that has ever participated – as one of the favorites to win it all.

While her soft singing style was what she felt most comfortable performing, she also excelled when the panel of judges threw her curveballs that were noticeably out of her normal spectrum and a ways from her comfort zone – starting with Pan Benetar’s “Heartbreaker” and  eventually working toward Heart’s “Magic Man” on the final night of competition on Monday.

Broadway enthusiast Amanda Fleig took second place while Katelyn Johnson took home the third place title. Trisha Checketts finished fourth.

 But in the battle for the inaugural Manteca Junior Idol contest, Annie Banks was clearly the one to beat from the beginning.

While the Idol contest was slightly marred by the departure of initial finalist Brieanne Jansen who had a family emergency and the hospitalization of Brian Rodrigues just two weeks before the finale, Banks had already established herself as a crowd favorite – having literally grown up as part of the competition over the last several years.

Her range and song selection only catered to her unique style.

Even with the big performing style of Danielle Osoteo and Kaylie Dotson’s attention to detail, Banks clearly excelled in a group once she was separated from the main Manteca Idol contestants that she had battled over the course of the last several years.

And even then she made herself known.

By Tuesday night Hoyt was already making the rounds in the gym at the Manteca Boys and Girls Club Telethon after performing for the first time with her fresh new title – taking the Fleetwood Mac classic “Landslide” and running away with it.

Her approachability and easygoing demeanor were a natural progression from the friendliness that made outgoing Manteca Idol Christine Acosta a friend to just about everybody who showed up on a weekly basis to support the singers.

So congrats are in order for both Shellie and Annie Banks for their accomplishment and their dedication to what has become an annual part of the Manteca Boys and Girls Club Telethon – an event that stands alone in terms of community support and wide-ranging appeal.

It’s clearly going to be a good year for local music.