Caitlin Marie Pletcher took first place in the instrumental performance category of Big Bear Idol.

Big Bear Lake, CA — The annual Big Bear Idol competition, hosted by the Rotary Club of Big Bear Lake and open to high-school aged vocalists and instrumentalists, took place at the Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center on Saturday evening, February 20. Of the three participating in the instrumental competition, first place and a $300 cash prize went to Caitlin Marie Pletcher for her cello performance; Drew Chilcoat, also on cello, placed second and won $200; and violinist Hunter Soles took third and a $100 cash prize. Twelve high school vocalists competed before the large and supportive audience at the PAC, and Big Bear High School senior Amber Carpenter placed first in both the classical and non-classical categories, earning her two cash prizes of $300 each, and the opportunity to compete in the next phase of competition at the Rotary Club District level later this year. Vocalist Tori Waner placed second and Jodie Cline placed third, earning them $200 and $100 respectively; Waner and Cline, like Carpenter, placed in both classical and non-classical categories, so each won two cash prizes. Brian Adams served as master of ceremonies, engaging the crowd while the judges conferred during the Big Bear Idol competition; in the next round of performances incorporating finalists from much of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, high school performers will be eligible for cash prizes up to $1000.

Big Bear Idol contestants wait their turn to take the stage at the PAC. Vocalists Jodi Cline (far left, in yellow) and Tori Waner (front, in white dress) ultimately won two prizes each.

High school senior Amber Carpenter won both the classical and non-classical vocal competitions, by singing "Quando M'en Vo" and "Girl in 14G." She'll follow up her Idol performance with the east coast debut of "Fandance," the original musical that debuted at the PAC last summer and, in March and April, will include a Big Bear cast in New Jersey and Connecticut. (Photos courtesy Alan Clark)