National anthem could win North Shelby native $10k

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

NORTH SHELBY — A North Shelby native has an opportunity to win a $10,000 college scholarship, but she’ll need the help of her community to make it happen.

Katie Wesler, a musical theater student at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, is a finalist in the Stand and Be Heard Anthem Singing Contest sponsored by FMC Agricultural Products Group.

Katie Wesler

In an email interview, Wesler said she got involved with the contest while searching for college scholarships online.

“It’s actually a funny story. I was working at Missouri State University at Tent Theatre this past summer. I was looking online for college scholarships and the tag line for the scholarship said, ‘Do you sing to your cows?’ And I told myself, ‘I sing to anything,’” she said.

She grabbed a friend, who recorded her singing the national anthem to a horse named Baylee. That entry has gotten her to the final round of voting, she said.

As one of four finalists, Wesler is in the running for a $10,000 scholarship grand prize. Even if she doesn’t win that $10,000, she will still win $5,000 in scholarship money for being a finalist.

“I’m a junior at the University of Cincinnati, and the out-of-state tuition is extremely high,” she said. “The scholarship will help me with my spring tuition bill.”

Wesler said her goal is to perform on Broadway after she gets her degree, and being in the contest has provided her with valuable experience.

“The four finalists traveled to Nashville a few weeks ago to record our final videos. We recorded at the House of Blues recording studio, and our musicians were part of Reba McEntire’s band,” Wesler said. “As a singer, spending time in the recording studio with such professionals was a treat for me.”

Eventually, Wesler plans to join in her family tradition of farming, as well, by farming part-time on family land in Indiana and producing food for farmer’s markets.

“Part of my goal is to provide a source of fresh produce to urban areas where fruits and vegetables aren’t readily available,” Wesler said.

Voting for the contest is open until Oct. 19. Those interested can vote daily until then by going to FMCcrop.com/contest and clicking on Wesler’s video.

“This is a chance for a Shelby County girl to win a national competition,” Wesler said. “Voting began September 24 and the show has already aired on national television, so voting is well underway. For me to make it to the top, I need the support of my community.”