Chris Kroeze

As one of only 13 contestants left on the NBC network TV series, “The Voice,” Chris Kroeze has introduced literally millions of Americans to tiny Barron, Wis.

On Monday night, Nov. 19, 2018, as the competition resumed with a series of song dedications, Kroeze introduced America to the tough times that Barron is also experiencing this fall, as well.

As his dedication song Monday, Kroeze sang the Beatles’ classic “Let It Be,” the same tune he performed for about 800 people Oct. 23 at the “Gathering of Hope” a tribute to missing Barron area resident Jayme Closs, at the Barron High School football field.

“The dedication song has a message of hope,” Kroeze told his coach, country star Blake Shelton. “My hometown has been through a lot lately. There was an abduction of a 13-year-old girl in Barron.”

Kroeze then talked about Jayme’s disappearance, as a series of photos of the missing girl appeared on screen.

“She still hasn’t been found,” Kroeze told Shelton. “It’s unsettling. This (kind of thing) just doesn’t happen there.”

Kroeze then described how he had sung the Paul McCartney song at the Gathering of Hope.

“I’m wearing a green ribbon on my guitar strap as a message of hope,” the 27-year-old performer said. “Barron has always been there for me, and I’ve got an opportunity to be there for them.”

Shelton praised Kroeze as someone “who is capable of (singing) all kinds of music, and making you buy into what he’s singing.

“This song has a deep meaning,” Shelton said. “To have his voice on it is going to set it apart from the other performances you’re going to hear.”

Voting began immediately after the Monday night show, as the latest edition of the News-Shield went into production. The paper was scheduled to be printed early Tuesday morning, Nov. 20. Results of the voting will be posted online when they become available.