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Update: Willmar student singers make it to State Fair grandstand performance

Courtesy photo Perfect Fifth consists of Willmar students Marcus Ornelas, from left, Emily Malmgren, Pedro Cruz, Julia Thaden and Jacob Meyer. They placed third Saturday in the Minnesota State Fair County Fair Talent Contest finals and won the chance to perform Sunday night at the State Fair grandstand.

WILLMAR – Five student singers about to start their junior year at Willmar Senior High performed Sunday at the Minnesota State Fair grandstand after they placed third overall in a Minnesota State Fair County Fair Talent Contest.

Called Perfect Fifth, the a cappella group consists of Marcus Ornelas, Julia Thaden, Pedro Cruz, Emily Malmgren and Jacob Meyer.

Meyer said in an email to the West Central Tribune that they placed third in the County Fair Talent Contest finals on Saturday when they sang “Havana.” They then advanced to the separate Minnesota State Fair Amateur Talent Contest finals on Sunday night, putting them among the top nine State Fair Amateur Talent acts in the state.

“Our goal from the beginning was to get to the State Fair,” Meyer said in an email prior to Saturday’s finals of the County Fair Talent Contest. “Now, all we want to do is have fun and enjoy the opportunity, but it wouldn't hurt if we got to perform at the grandstand.”

They got their wish and on Sunday again performed “Havana,” this time on the grandstand stage.

County fairs throughout Minnesota are invited to send winners of their amateur talent contests to the State Fair competition. Semifinals in the County Fair Talent Contest are held the first nine evenings of the State Fair with the nightly first-place winners progressing to the County Fair Talent Contest Finals, which take place on the 10th night of the fair. According to the State Fair guidelines, first- and second-place division winners are then also invited to the finals in the Amateur Talent Contest.

The Willmar students formed their singing group in December for a choir solo and ensemble festival. “We liked the group so much that we decided to stick together and keep working on more music,” Meyer wrote in an email.

As two of the members were unable to attend the auditions during the Kandiyohi County Fair in Willmar, the teens auditioned Aug. 19 at the McLeod County Fair and advanced to the Minnesota State Fair County Fair Talent Contest. They first competed at the State Fair on Aug. 28 and won first place in the Teen Division, placing them in Saturday night’s finals when they placed third and won the opportunity to perform Sunday at the grandstand.