The 2021 Celebrity Judges

The Road to Success starts with an application to audition and a live performance in front of a panel of audition judges. After the panel selects five finalists and two alternates in each division, song selection enters the mix. Each finalist submits three songs for consideration for the Hoosier STAR Song Selection Committee to choose from. After music selections are approved, the singers prepare, the orchestra secures the music and the stage is set for an amazing evening hosted by a Master of Ceremonies along with on-stage commentary from celebrity judges which adds to the excitement of the evening.

Greta Stirling Friedman

“Music expresses what even the most eloquent of words simply cannot at times. Music can fill your heart with joy or break it into 1 million pieces. That is in part why it is such a blessing to have something like who Hoosier STAR to experience.” Greta is a native a LaPorte, a Slicer, graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and Valparaiso Law School. Her earliest memories are of listening to every Broadway musical and memorizing the lyrics. As a child of two musicians and educators it was one of her favorite things to do. Greta’s first singing experience was Gretel in The Sound of Music alongside her mother, Jane Westphal who played Maria. Greta has appeared in numerous musicals and plays in the last 25 years locally. A role as Peter Peter Pan gave her the unique perspective of singing while flying in the air. “it is much more difficult than it looks, and I gained a whole new appreciation of Mary Martin!” She enjoyed the challenge as well as the opportunity to share the stage with her two children who were part of the wonderful cast.

 

For several years Greta gas had the privilege of singing with the Praise Team at the First United Methodist Church with some incredibly talented musicians

 

She has participated in Hoosier Star on several occasions as an Audition judge and describes it as uplifting and joyful. She is thrilled to be joining such talented other judges on the stage this year as a Celebrity judge.

“ The level of talent we see in this competition is incredible. Every year I say that it was the best year yet… Until the next year comes around. It just keeps improving with every year. The leadership, vision, and talent of those who put on this competition is totally dedicated to encouraging young singers. You will not find a better experience anywhere I am sure”. Greta is honored to be working with James Neary, and the incredible Cherri, Tim, and board to see that this competition continues even in challenging times. Giving singers the opportunity to share the stage and work with the symphony is a totally unique and memorable experience. Greta believes that we need music perhaps now more than ever!

James Neary

James Neary is an award-winning singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and previous Hoosier Star winner. His unique, falsetto-driven, blues-twinged voice has been making waves since he won the first Acorn Theater Singer-Songwriter Contest in 2013. In the years since, James has toured with his band (James Neary and the Bevy Blue); lent his voice to multiple original albums and EPs; opened for the likes of John Mayall, Cracker, and Billy Strings; won Hoosier Star in 2016 with his rendition of the Queen classic, ‘Somebody to Love’; and joined brit-rock superstars Muse on-stage to perform their hit ‘Plug in Baby’. James is thrilled to be on the other side of the curtain to help decide this year’s Hoosier Star winner and wishes all the contestants the best of luck.

Lou Voelker

Lou Voelker is a partner in the Indiana law firm Eichhorn & Eichhorn, LLP, practicing primarily in Northwest Indiana. He lives in LaPorte with his wife and the youngest of his three children.  Lou started playing guitar and singing in his youth.  He was a member of the Purdue University Varsity Glee Club and has been named to its Hall of Fame. His community involvement has included serving as a 4-H Horse & Pony Leader, and past service as a youth sports coach through the YMCA and other programs.  He is a member of the local musical group Cripple Creek, a vocally oriented band that performs an eclectic variety of music. Cripple Creek most frequently performs in support of community organizations including the LaPorte Symphony Orchestra, the Healthcare Foundation of LaPorte, NewDay Foundation and Arts in the Park.  He is involved with the music ministry of the La Porte First Church of God.