Phi Delta Theta
Chandler Kirkhart, a Kansas Zeta member and junior at Southwestern College, made the four hour trip to Liberal, Kansas from Winfield on Friday January 16th to participate in the Country Showdown singing competition. Little did he know, he was also going to have one of his dreams come true.
Brother Kirkhart was one of 40 people to participate in the contest. The first 40 people sent in a recording of themselves singing to the contest judges in mid-December. The judges narrowed the number of contestants to 25 from the recordings. These singers were invited to the live competition in Liberal, Kansas. The top contestant of the 25 would win $1000 and the chance to open for country music star Jerrod Niemann. The contest consisted of two rounds. In the first round, each of the 25 contestants sang a song and was judged with half of the points coming from the audience and the other half from 3 judges. During this round, Brother Kirkhart sang his self-written single "Shelby". "I was 3rd to sing in the first round so I had to wait a long time to hear the results, but the worst part was the announcement of the contestants who would be continuing on to the final round," said Chandler. "They announced the other 9 contestants first. I looked around at those of us that were left and saw a lot of good singers. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when they announced my name."
Following the same format as the first round, each of the ten finalists performed a new song that was judged by the audience and the trio of judges. Kirkhart performed one of his two new singles entitled "Let's Go Fishin'" Then began Chandler's second long wait for the announcement of the winners. Speaking about the place announcements, Kirkhart said, "When everyone was finished, the contest officials began naming who got each place, starting at tenth place and going to first. When they got to the top three places and I hadn't been named yet, I was ecstatic. They named the other two contestants as third and second place winners and I realized I had won. It was like a dream come true to me because I knew I would be opening for Jerrod Niemann."
Because Chandler had won, he got to perform on the following day just before Jerrod Niemann. "I got to hang out with Jerrod before I went on to sing. He seemed like a really cool guy and I asked him to listen to me perform and tell me what he thought." Niemann remarked to Chandler that his performance was "pretty good" and some of Niemann's band members thought that Kirkhart's songs were similar to some of Niemann's songs. Kirkhart had performed the two previously mentioned recorded songs. After the gig, Kirkhart was able to speak with Niemann's manager and a representative from Sony Music.
Kirkhart's first single, "Shelby", can be bought on iTunes. His other two singles, "Let's Go Fishin'" and "Play Me Some Lonely" will also be able to be found there in the coming weeks.