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Local stars shine bright for United Way

Cady Hebert of Fort Kent was one of two performers, along with Jennifer Raymond, who voters selected to advance to the finale of Northern Star. Hebert and Raymond were among 11 artists who took the stage at the University of Maine at Fort Kent Fox Auditorium during the first round of the United Way sponsored talent competition on Friday, March 3. (Jessica Potila | SJVT/FhF)

Cady Hebert of Fort Kent was one of two performers, along with Jennifer Raymond, who voters selected to advance to the finale of Northern Star. Hebert and Raymond were among 11 artists who took the stage at the University of Maine at Fort Kent Fox Auditorium during the first round of the United Way sponsored talent competition on Friday, March 3. (Jessica Potila | SJVT/FhF)

FORT KENT, Maine  — Three female singers from Fort Kent and St. Francis and a Ukrainian beatboxer named George will represent the St. John Valley at the 2017 Northern Star finale in Caribou. Christine Robinson, Cady Hebert, Jennifer Raymond and George Safonov all earned their place in the March 19 showdown after performing at a preliminary competition at the University of Maine at Fort Kent Fox Auditorium on Friday, March 3, 2017.

For the first time in the history of the United Way of Aroostook fundraiser, the audience vote resulted in a tie, between Hebert and Raymond. Safonov was the judge’s choice to move forward to the finale. Samantha Boutot, Pam Thibodeau and Doug Giroux were the judges.

Safonov performed a beatboxing routine during which he accompanied himself on guitar. After, he invited an audience member to assist him in a freestyle beatboxing session. Chris Parent, son of Northern Star host Jason Parent volunteered to assist Safonov on the stage.

“That was amazing. I’ve seen people beatbox on TV and that was better,” Boutot said following Safonov’s performance.

Robinson earned a spot in the finale by collecting the most sponsorship money for United Way.

Singer Savanna Hanlin delivered a moving vocal performance in memory of her late grandmother at a Northern Star competition at the University of Maine at Fort Kent Fox Auditorium on Friday, March 3. (Jessica Potila | SJVT/FhF)

Singer Savanna Hanlin delivered a moving vocal performance in memory of her late grandmother at a Northern Star competition at the University of Maine at Fort Kent Fox Auditorium on Friday, March 3. (Jessica Potila | SJVT/FhF)

Savanna Hanlin, 13, of St. Agatha delivered an emotional performance of “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. She said she chose the song because it reminded her of her grandmother who passed away a few years ago.

“Your grandma is looking at you right now,” Thibodeau told Hanlin following the performance.

United Way of Aroostook Board of Directors President Luke Rossignol reminded the audience that Northern Star is a fundraiser and that nearly all of the money raised is returned to the local community.

“Not everyone is as blessed as we are tonight. This talent is real but the United Way is also real and we make a real difference in our community,” he said. “Please don’t forget us after tonight.”

Wild card picks which United Way of Aroostook selected to advance to the finale are the Moondance Cloggers, Jacob Graham, and Eric Gustin. The final Northern Star competition will take place on Sunday, March 19 at 2 p.m. at the Caribou Performing Arts Center.

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