The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Ledger Publisher 

Brunet, Lanes aiming to become Mining City Star


March 28, 2018

Jack H. Smith

Pictured is Whitehall musician Dawson Lanes in his music studio. Lanes and local resident Samara Brunet will be competing next week for the title of Mining City Star.

Two local residents will be vying for the title of Mining City Star during the final round of competition April 7 at Fairmont Hot Springs.

11th Grade Whitehall student Dawson Lanes will be competing in the 13 to 17-year old division, while college student and 2016 WHS graduate Samara Brunet will be aiming for the title in the 18 and up category. A total of $4,000 in prizes are up for grabs at this year's event.

The musical competition was founded in 2010 by Natasha Richter and Patty Clements. In an interview last year, Richter said while growing up she would have to travel all over Montana and out of state to compete. She wanted to put together a community event for what she called a very talented group of singers in Southwest Montana.

This is the third year Brunet has taken part in the competition.

"It's a great opportunity to be a part of Mining City Star, and very exciting to be competing in the finals," she said.

Brunet can remember singing since she was able to talk -- and has done so anywhere from camp, church, tent meetings, school, the Frontier Days talent show and other special events.

"I am a very soft spoken person, so volume and projection is something I have struggled with. But over the past few years I have been able to grow and strengthen my voice. I would say my style as a artist is very unique, somewhere between Adele and Hailey Reinhard," she said.

Brunet will graduate in May with an Associate of Arts from Montana Western and plans to continue her journey with music after college.

For Lanes, music is a passion and he spends countless hours in his home studio producing hip hop, Electronic Dance Music (EDM), and pop. In the first two rounds of competition Lanes performed "Welcome to Montana", a track he originally produced for an English project at school. Lanes said it is a hard-hitting hip hop track, while the second song he performed, "Hopes of Horizon" was drastically different.

After learning he would make the finals Lanes said he was really surprised.

"I was pretty pumped up," he said.

Samara Brunet performs at the Mining City Star semifinals. The finals are set for April 7 at Fairmont Hot Springs. Photo by Breanna Clements Photography.

Lanes will be performing two more songs at the finals, and knows it will be a challenge because it will be his own original music. He said it might be easier for someone who is not doing their own music, so he is working hard and has already completed the first track. In an interview last Wednesday, Lanes said he would like to have the second song completed by the weekend to allow him two weeks to practice performing.

"I'm making fresh stuff, going to go all out. It's going to be hard work, but I'm super excited," he said.

Lanes has his music available on both Facebook (search Dawson Lanes) or Instagram (Dawons Lanes Music).

Whitehall's Lily Jensen and Shanell McCracken both made it to the semifinals in 2018. McCracken is a former winner of the event.

General admission seating for the event is $10 and available at the door. Kids 12 and under are free. Tables of eight are also available. The cost is $200. For more information call Richter at 406-498-2713. The event is scheduled for 1 p.m.


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