Singer Dow tops the field at Holiday competition

April 13, 2003|By Rebecca McClay | Rebecca McClay,SUN STAFF

Sultry voices, flowing gowns and several white gardenias graced Center Stage yesterday during the 14th annual Billie Holiday Vocal Competition.

"What's that show? American Idol? Well, these are some of Baltimore's idols," said Mayor Martin O'Malley, who announced the three winners.

Under dim red lights, 13 jazz singers performed Billie Holiday covers for an audience of about 400 from noon to 4 p.m.

Doris Dow of Baltimore, a vocalist for the Top 40 band TNT who sings with local church groups, was the first-place winner. She garnered $1,500 and spots to perform at the Baltimore Waterfront Festival this month, at Artscape in July and at A Monumental Occasion in Mount Vernon Square in December.

"I'm so happy that you all believed in me," a teary-eyed Dow told the audience.

During the first round of competition, Dow gestured to the ceiling and smiled at the balcony as she sang, "I move the mountains if he wants them out of the way."

The audience responded, "Sing it, sing it."

Amanda Cutsail of Baltimore was the runner-up, taking $1,000; Bufford Siggers of Baltimore was third, winning $500.

Though Holiday's official birthplace is unconfirmed, the Billie Holiday Vocal Competition celebrates her as a Baltimorean.

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