Contest to pick opening act for Vassar concert

One lucky country music act will get to perform at the Gallo Center for the Arts before award-winning singer/songwriter Phil Vassar takes the stage next month.

The Gallo Center and The Bee are sponsoring a contest in which Modesto-area country singers and musicians will vie for the chance to be the warm-up act for Vassar's concert at 7 p.m. April 21.

Vassar is on tour promoting his sixth album, "Traveling Circus." He has written several chart-topping songs for himself and for country artists Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Jo Dee Messina and Collin Raye. He's twice been named ASCAP Songwriter of the Year and has won awards from the Academy of Country Music, Billboard and MusicRow.

To enter the contest, performers should follow this link and upload a 30-second video clip of the singer, musician or band performing. Original material is strongly encouraged.

To be eligible, the singer, musician or band must be based in The Bee's readership area, which includes Stanislaus, Merced, San Joaquin and Tuolumne counties.

Contestants may begin uploading their videos now, and the public will vote on their audition clips beginning March 26. Voting will close April 9 and results will be sent to the Gallo Center.

A panel of judges will make the final determination of who performs a roughly 15-minute set at the center's Mary Stuart Rogers theater.

The winning performer or band must supply transportation to the concert.