Karen Betts made the most of winning Patch Ministries Rising Star of Tennessee last year. She knew the benefit of the studio time she was awarded and utilized it to create her first album, “Listen.”
“I’d been in a studio before, and I knew how much it cost. I figured I’d never be there again if I had to pay for it,” she said.
The working mother of three and pre-dental student credits Patch Ministries with giving her the push she needed.
“I finally finished something in my life,” Betts said. “I’ve always started things but because of Patch Ministries and this contest, I’ve completed something. It was all the world to me. It was a dream I’ve always wanted, and I couldn’t have done it if I hadn’t entered the contest.”
Patch Ministries is a local, non-profit ministry dedicated to eliminating unsafe and unsanitary housing in Blount County by identifying people living in substandard housing, evaluating their specific needs and coordinating community resources to address them. Patch Ministries was founded by Jeff Hutchison who said the Rising Star of Tennessee contest is the ministry’s largest fund-raiser.
“We’ve got a lot of folks in town who need help,” said Hutchison. “Every dollar we raise with Rising Star, and everything else, goes toward helping them.”
The Rising Star competition is open to all solo vocalists who submit a complete application, along with appropriate release forms, a photograph, a song on CD or cassette tape, biography and entry fee, to the Patch Ministries office by April 4. Information and applications are available at www.patchministries.org or by calling 865-661-7824.
The Rising Star of Tennessee performances will be held at Monte Vista Baptist Church at 1735 Old Niles Ferry Road in Maryville. The adult semi-final round is on Friday, April 18, at 7 p.m., and the youth semi-final round is Saturday, April 19 at 1 p.m.
Finals for both groups will be on April 25 at 7 p.m., and the winner will be awarded the grand prize package that night.
Hutchison said this year’s grand prize includes a full day of recording time at RiverSound Production Studio with a producer, a marketing package provided by Blount Today, a makeover day and a professional photography session, with headshots, donated by Images Coterie.
Betts was especially thankful for the studio recording time with RiverSound Productions she won last year. “Stan Williamson produced the album and helped me write a lot of the music and was an inspiration. Doug and Tammi Hodges have an awesome studio with state-of-the-art equipment, right here in Maryville,” Betts said.
“My CD is something that’s from the heart. I wrote a couple of songs and Paul Hathaway wrote the lyrics to ‘Do it Again.’ I want to thank him very much for giving me that.”
Betts will celebrate her album with a release party on April 12 at 7 p.m. at Grounded Coffee and More on High Street in Maryville. Everyone is welcome.
“I’ve never been one to want people to know who I am. I don’t feel my singing is something I do. It’s a ministry. If no one ever knows my name, that’s okay, as long as they get the message of God through my singing. It’s about the opportunity to spread God’s word, and I wouldn’t have gotten to do that without Patch Ministries and Rising Star,” Betts said.
Anyone interested in volunteering with Patch Ministries should contact Hutchison. The former restaurant owner said there are plenty of opportunities. For Rising Star alone they need help with concessions, parking and security. “All kinds of groups can help out. Youth groups, scouts, everybody can plug in,” he said.
For more information about Patch Ministries or the Rising Star of Tennessee competition, visit www.patchministries.org or call 865-661-7824.
Betts advises this year’s contestants to, “Have fun, enjoy it and take advantage of everything offered to you through the contest. It’s all worth it.”