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Seeking youths with ‘J-Factor’: Youth for Christ hosts vocal Christian music competition for young people

James Valley Youth for Christ is looking for young people to compete in its upcoming J-Factor, a Christian music vocal contest.

“With all the popularity of the singing competitions that are out there now, we thought we should try that, especially with young people,” said Troy Gunderson, executive director of James Valley Youth for Christ.

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In the past, the organization has done Singspiration events, and wanting to appeal to a more diverse crowd, it was decided to try something a little different.

Fifteen contestants will have the chance to win cash prizes, with $300 for first place, $200 for second and $100 for third — donated by Home Design Center — by singing Christian music.

The music can be contemporary Christian, gospel, hymns or any other vocal music intended to glorify God, Gunderson said.

“It’s wide open as far as the style of music,” he added.

Students must be in grades 9-12 and not older than 18 years old to participate.

Judging will be based solely on a student’s vocal performance, with consideration of style, stage presence and how the student brings out the message in the music.

“There’s a lot more criteria than just listening to their voice and seeing how they hit the note,” Gunderson said.

All performances will be solo vocal performances. Recorded or live accompaniment is allowed, but no more than two instruments are allowed in a performance.

Performances will be judged by a group of five music professionals in the community, including Alexis Barnick.

J-Factor begins at 7 p.m. April 11 at the theater in Jamestown High School. The event is free and open to the public, and all are encouraged to attend.

“We would love to have the public come out for it and listen, and support our young people and their gifts,” Gunderson said.

So far, five students have signed up, and more are needed.

Any young person who fits the criteria and wants to sign up should send his or her name, age, grade, address, phone number and title and description of the music selection to the James Valley Youth for Christ, P.O. Box 105, Jamestown, N.D. 58402.

All entries must be postmarked by March 15.

“We want to promote our kids, showcase the talent our young people in Jamestown have,” Gunderson said.

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by email at