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Local girl shares her 'Small Town Sound'

Kristen Korkowski of Alexandria is part of a nationwide music contest.

A small town girl is sharing her original music with the entire nation this month.

Kristen Korkowski of Alexandria is one of more than 500 contestants in the Maurices-sponsored "Small Town Sound" band search.

Korkowski, a 2008 graduate of Jefferson High School in Alexandria, is currently a student at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul studying vocal performance. She is pursuing an associate degree and hopes to eventually get a teaching degree

"I've always wanted to teach elementary school and be a music teacher," she said. "I'd also like to pursue my personal music on the side."

The daughter of Joe and Sue Korkowski of Alexandria, Kristen noted that music has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember.

"Music has always been a passion of mine," she said. "There's a video of me literally singing before I could talk. I've always known I wanted to do something with music."

Korkowski eventually started writing her own songs and has written about 20 to date. While she enjoys the creative outlet songwriting offers, her first passion is still singing.

"I can sing other people's songs and still get the same feeling from it as when I sing my own," she said. "The ultimate thing would be listening to someone else sing the words I wrote. That would be surreal. The thought of others appreciating the words you've written is amazing."

Korkowski noted that she plays piano and guitar just enough to "bluff my way through." She's also currently doing some work with a xylophone.

When asked what kind of music she prefers to sing, Korkowski replied, "I really don't know how to describe the kind of music I want to make. It's folkish, but also has an alternative type of sound.

"My sources are somewhat limited, but now that I'm going to music school I'm learning all the things I can do to achieve a fuller sound."

Korkowski entered her original song, "When We Were Young," for the Small Town Sound competition. Following is an an excerpt she wrote in her contest bio:

My only hope with this, is that someone somewhere, even if it's only one person, can walk away from my music with perhaps a little more perspective than they had before. I want people to be able to feel the passion I feel towards music, because it's a beautiful thing.

I write my own music, I sing my own songs, and record my own harmonies. If anything, this will give me the opportunity to expand my audience, and my passion, and that's all I could possibly ask.

About the contest

Maurices created the Small Town Sound contest in partnership with PlayNetwork and Sonicbids to discover the next famous female-fronted band. More than 500 bands are vying.

Now through November 15, fans can visit the website to read the contestant profiles, listen to the audio tracks and vote for their favorite "Small Town Sound."

Fan votes will narrow the field to 50 ensembles.

A group of panelists, including The Bangles' Chrissie Hynde and indie rock group Sick of Sarah, will trim the field to 10 finalists.

Those bands will then have two weeks to create an original song based on the "Small Town Sound" theme. On December 1, online voting will reopen and people will vote a final time on the best original song to determine the grand prize winner and two runners up.

The winning band will perform live at their local Maurices and receive a trip to Los Angeles to shoot a music video and record their winning song at the PlayNetwork production studio.

They'll also receive gifts from Maurices and Daisy Rock Guitars, as well as the opportunity to perform at a major national music festival in the spring of 2011 with The Bangles and Sick of Sarah.

People who vote will receive a Maurices coupon and be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of 13 Maurices shopping sprees valued between $100 and $1,000.

Tara Bitzan

Tara Bitzan is editor of the Echo Press. She joined the company in 1991 as a news reporter. A lifelong resident of Douglas County, Tara graduated from Brandon High School and earned a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications and English with a minor in Scandinavian Studies from Moorhead State University. She and her husband, Dennis, and their children live near Alexandria.

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