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Touch of class

Jennifer Geens
Northern News Services

Fort Liard (Nov 01/04) - She has worn a red sequined cowboy hat, burgundy velvet and black floor-length gowns.

 NNSL Photo

Fawn Fritzen performs at the Yellowknife Legion Oct. 23. - Jennifer Geens/NNSL photo

She has sung jazz, country and Debbie Boone. And she has earned a standing ovation from the audience and the praise of hard-to-please judges.

She is Fawn Fritzen, Fort Liard's gladiator of song in the Yellowknife Legion's North of 60 Idol contest.

"You're too big for this competition," Katey Simmons told her two Saturdays ago.

Simmons is one of the judges and a music teacher at Mildred Hall school in Yellowknife.

"You have such a future in music. You should look into it professionally," she said.

Or perhaps Jim Stratford, one of the judges from radio station CJCD, summed it up best after Fritzen's first song on Oct. 2.

"Thank God you showed up," he said.

Besides her voice, her classy outfits have made an impression on the audience and the judges.

Besides the evening dresses and the red sequined cowboy hat, a green feather boa has also made an appearance at the Legion.

Unfortunately, the piano teacher fears her supply of clothes has now run out.

"I've exhausted my wardrobe," she said on the night of the final preliminary round.

The slinky dresses were left over from her university days, which she bought for semi-formals.

Fritzen liked having an opportunity to "dust them off."

Even if she didn't have one of the best voices and the best outfits in the competition, she definitely has the best motivation. Fritzen is competing to win herself a long-awaited post-nuptial vacation.

Fritzen and her husband Michael Pealow, Fort Liard's economic development officer, married two years ago, but never took a honeymoon.

"Apparently the drive across Canada to Fort Liard wasn't enough," said Pealow.

First prize in the North of 60 Idol contest is a trip for two to Disneyland in California.

That's enough to make Fritzen and her husband drive from Fort Liard to Yellowknife and back twice so far. She'll make the trip two more times if she makes it to the finals.

Fritzen uses the time spent in the car travelling to practise her song selections.

She's no stranger to the North. She's originally from Thunder Bay, Ont., and spent her teenage years in Iqaluit before moving to Ottawa to attend Carleton University.