Nicole Feree, left, and Caitlin Harjes, known onstage as The Denim Girls, perform a duet of “Rocky Mountain High” during last year’s Craig Concert Association annual Talent Show. Harjes and Ferree played “Wide Open Spaces” during their audition Saturday at the Moffat County High School auditorium. They said they have a good chance at performing in the annual concert for their fifth consecutive time.

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Nicole Feree, left, and Caitlin Harjes, known onstage as The Denim Girls, perform a duet of “Rocky Mountain High” during last year’s Craig Concert Association annual Talent Show. Harjes and Ferree played “Wide Open Spaces” during their audition Saturday at the Moffat County High School auditorium. They said they have a good chance at performing in the annual concert for their fifth consecutive time.

Performers showcase skills during Craig Concert Association talent audition

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If you go…

What: Craig Concert Association’s annual talent show

When: 7 p.m. April 21

Where: Moffat County High School auditorium, 900 Finley Lane

— The event is free and open to anyone.

For rural communities like Craig, it’s difficult to attract high-profile bands and musicians, if not impossible.

That’s fine with Denise Hainault, a Moffat County High School music teacher and Craig Concert Association Board member.

“We have a good pool of talent right here in this little community,” Hainault said. “I’m always impressed when people take the stage and show you something you didn’t know was there before.”

On Saturday, 26 Craig residents auditioned at the Moffat County High School auditorium for the concert association’s annual talent show, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 21, also at MCHS.

Hainault coordinated the audition and served on the four-member panel of judges.

She was accompanied by her husband, Dave, and concert association board members Liane Davis-Kling and Chris Toovey.

The annual talent show began in 1978.

The audition typically attracts residents of all ages and occasionally features performances showcasing talents beyond music.

But Davis-Kling, who was on the judging panel for the first time, said this year was different.

“The majority (of participants) were high school and middle school students,” she said. “Most of them were vocalists, but there were some guitarists, pianists and a couple of brass musicians.”

Saturday’s participants were judged in three primary categories: preparation, stage presence and musical ability.

After nearly four hours of auditions, the panel began trying to narrow the field, which Davis-Kling said was no easy feat.

“In addition to serving as a judge, I was also the timekeeper,” Davis-Kling said. “You always want to feature as many people as possible without putting on a three-and-a-half hour show. I had no idea how long and hard the (selection) process was going to be.”

Davis-Kling couldn’t comment on whether the bill has been set, but hinted that the panel had made a majority of its decisions Saturday afternoon.

“Denise is in charge, so I’m not going to throw out any names until she has had a chance to contact (the participants) directly,” Davis-Kling said. “With spring break, I would imagine we won’t be making an announcement until sometime next week.”

Despite the uncertainty, Caitlin Harjes, 15, and Nicole Ferree, 16, think they have a good shot at performing during the talent show later this month for their fifth consecutive time.

“We’ve auditioned and played in the talent show four times before,” Harjes said. “You’re always a little nervous for an audition, but we’ve been playing together for a long time and know each other pretty well.”

Harjes and Ferree, known onstage as The Denim Girls, have been playing together for more than five years, Harjes said.

In addition to performing in the annual talent show, the pair is known for entertaining weekend and winter travelers at Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden, and playing for participants in annual fundraisers such as Relay for Life.

On Saturday, the duet performed an acoustic version of “Wide Open Spaces,” a song written by Susan Gibson and popularized by the Dixie Chicks.

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