Local singer returns to regional country showdownWORTHINGTON — Greg Amundson hopes that the third time is the charm. Amundson, who performs as Gregory Michael, will take his third shot at the regional competition of the Colgate Country Showdown on Nov. 7.
By: Beth Rickers, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Greg Amundson hopes that the third time is the charm.
Amundson, who performs as Gregory Michael, will take his third shot at the regional competition of the Colgate Country Showdown on Nov. 7.
In 2006, Amundson won the Minnesota-North Dakota state competition, performing a Blake Shelton song and an original composition, “Not This Day,” written for buddies serving in Iraq. Then last year, he took home the Minnesota state title with his cover of a Garth Brooks tune and an original piece, “Walked Away.”
“I’m giving it one more shot,” Amundson said recently after again winning the chance to represent Minnesota during the state final on Aug. 29 in Wadena.
For the state event, he performed another of his own compositions, “Turn On Some Country,” and a Chris Young song, “Getting’ You Home.”
The Country Showdown — this is the 28th annual — is designed to find the most promising country music talent in America and to give the performers a chance to launch their professional music careers. It begins each spring with more than 450 local talent contests sponsored by country music radio stations throughout the United States. The winners advance to their respective state competitions, where they have a chance at a $1,000 prize, the state title and opportunity to advance to one of five regional finals. The regional winners then advance to the national final, which is televised to a national audience from the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and boasts a $1000,000 grand prize.
Being able to showcase his talent in such a venue would be a dream come true for Amundson, who first picked up a guitar at the age of 12 and has been enthralled by making music ever since. He first honed his performance skills on stage at Worthington’s Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center, where he took part in several variety-talent shows.
Currently a student in the pharmacy program at North Dakota State University in Fargo, Amundson spends summers at his family’s resort near Alexandria. He’s had regular gigs performing at Carlos Creek Winery there and has captured each of the Country Showdown state titles in nearby Wadena, representing radio station KKWS.
“I was booked pretty solid this summer,” said Amundson about his performance schedule. “Now I’m working on getting some stuff going in Fargo.”
After experiencing the regional competition twice before, Amundson knows that the competition will be stiff, but he has also matured as a performer.
“I’ve gotten more comfortable on stage,” he said, “and I’ve learned to write a little better songs. You’ve always got to be improving. I try to do as much as I can with school.”
Amundson’s fellow competitors in the West regional final represent radio stations from throughout the Midwest: Tina McRay, KDKD, Clinton, Mo.; Saddlebrook, WMIL, Milwaukee, Wis.; McKenzie Road, KYTZ, Langdon, N.D.; Lexi Moul, KZZI, Spearfish, S.D.; Kendall Phillips, WBCH, Hastings, Mich.; Charles Tantone, KLWT, Lebanon, Mo.; and SteelCounty, WLDY, Ladysmith, Wis.
The performers will all converge on Nov. 7 at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D. The previous regional competitions that Amundson participated in were at Royal River Casino in Flandreau, S.D.
Amundson hasn’t yet decided what he’s going to perform for the regional, only that it will be “something different” than what he did for the state competition.
No matter the outcome of the Country Showdown, Amundson has set his sights on a career in country music down the road, after he finishes his final year of college.
“I’m hoping to pursue the music thing,” he said.
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