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Mulmur singer cracks Top 20 in search for next country star

August 26, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Brock Weir


Singing has been helping Mulmur’s Patrick James Clark pay the bills as a student at Western – but now it is helping rake in the glory.

Clark, 23, was one of 40 contestants from across Ontario facing off last week for spot in the Top 20 for the annual Hoedown Showdown competition, hosted by Magna International.

Held each year in conjunction with Magna’s Wild, Wild West Hoedown, York Region’s biggest fundraising party, the Hoedown Showdown attracts a wide variety of contestants ranging in age from 13 to 80-plus.

A student of popular music studies, Patrick was in good company when he took over the Theatre Aurora stage on Thursday afternoon, guitar in hand, performing Thomas Rhett’s “T-Shirt” for judges Tom Cross of Metal Works Studios, Magna’s Steve Hinder, country star Beverley Mahood, and media personality and philanthropist Joan Walker.

“Everyone is so unique and different from one another, which is going to make it tough because there is nothing to compare it to,” said Ms. Mahood. “Each have their own thing and we’re just sitting here impressed with the originality of each one of the contestants so far.”

Added Ms. Walker: “Some of the contestants we have seen are back from previous years and the improvements have been incredible. It is really nice to see that growth and that is why we are doing this: to give people a stage, an opportunity, give them some feedback, and hopefully they learn and grow from it.”

Judges were wowed by Clark’s voice, asking him to take a stab at a second song – a rarity for the Top 40 – showcasing his skills as a songwriter. He chose “Sneakers” which was, in part, inspired by his girlfriend who works as a footwear designer in Toronto.

“Music is how I am paying my tuition right now,” Clark told the judges, adding he wanted to push genre boundaries. “I am playing in bars and restaurants during the summer and school year. I went to music school in Hamilton right out of high school as a jazz drummer and I got to work with a development company in Nashville. I got to do an EP with them and when I got back I wanted to be a singer-songwriter, applied to Berkley, but I decided to go to Western and do popular music studies.

“I think I am a country artist, but I don’t want to get bottle-necked. As soon as you tell someone you are a country artist they kind of form an opinion of you.”

The Top 20 will perform for judges and audiences alike at Aurora’s Ribfest next Saturday, August 26, where the Top 10 will continue on for a mentorship week before the ultimate finals under the Hoedown big top on Friday, September 15.

The Top 20, in alphabetical order are:


  1. John Anderson, 16, Barrie
  2. Kylie Angel, 28, Ancaster
  3. Sarah Campbell Mills, 14, Burlington
  4. Mike Chianelli, 17, Sutton West
  5. Pierina Cincinnato, 46, Mississauga
  6. Patrick James Clark, 23, Mulmur
  7. Darren Evorglens, 41, Oakville
  8. Abby J. Hall, 17, Burlington
  9. Zoe Jayne, 17, Schomberg
  10. Dave Lang, 41, Newmarket
  11. Alannah Lipsett, 21, Claremont
  12. Nicole Mastrangelo, 20, Enniskillen
  13. Christopher Normandeau, 29, Stouffville
  14. Omarr Rahal, 21, Stouffville
  15. Jayme Lynn Reed, 21, Keswick
  16. Katie Sacco, 17, Toronto
  17. Melissa Suma, 15, Aurora
  18. Lauren (Renee) Vandervecht, 22, Sharon
  19. Cameron von Criegern, 19, Peterborough
  20. Colette Zorzella, 40, Aurora


For more information, including the Top 20 round at Ribfest and Hoedown itself, visit



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