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Clarenvile group $10,000 richer after winning music competition

Christmas came early for Clarenville-based group DA DITS.

The musical group Da Dits, are (from left): Owen Green, Donna Blundon and Dawna Slade.

The musical trio was crowned the winner of the first Townies Vs. Baymen Open Mic Competition at O’Reilly’s pub in St. John’s in early December, taking home the $10,000 grand prize.

Group member Donna Blundon said they played the first leg of the competition in October. The competition, which pitted Baymen and Townie musicians against each other on their Tuesday Open Mic night, slowly whittled down competitors through a judging and voting process.

Blundon wasn’t enthused at first but eventually the other two members, Dawna Slade and her brother Owen Green, convinced her to take part in the contest.

“I didn’t want to because we are mostly just campfire singers. Singing around the cabins or whatever,” Blundon said.

The group started in 2007 after Blundon wrote a song about her hometown in Fogo Island and wanted to perform it at a folk festival. 

Faced with the task of having to come up with a name to put in the festival’s program, they decided on DA DITS. Based on the slang ‘starved da dit, sweating da dit, worried da dit.’

They had T-shirts printed up with the terms on the back so people could understand what the band name meant. When the competition came around they created new T-shirts with similar writing.

On the night of the first competition in October, there were six bayman and six townies that would play, and each team had a music coach. The coaches acted as judges and determined the winner of the first round.

They returned in November and 10 baymen played off and three musicians were chosen to advance to the final round.

The final night was on Dec. 1, with three baymen and three townies remaining and the final competition being decided by online voting by those in the pub or watching on the live web feed.

“When we went down the next day after winning to collect our cheque, they asked if we would like to know how many votes we got. We said yes, and she said we had 37,700 votes,” Blundon said.

The trio has always talked about recording an album together and this influx of cash will go toward making it a reality.

They have more than enough original compositions to fill out a full-length CD and Blundon said it would be great to memorialize the songs, many of which are dear to their hearts.

Blundon is thankful for all those who took the time to repeatedly vote online.

“There’s not enough ways to say thank you to everyone that helped us win that night,” said Blundon.

“I got my real prize earlier that morning. I had a meeting with my oncologist because I’ve been battling cancer since 2011. I had breast cancer and in August it came back in my bones. The same day I got the cheque, I also got news that the cancer was contained and hadn’t spread. That was a good day, it started off good and ended up with icing on the cake.”

Twitter: @kevincurleyjr

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