Are you the next Senior Idol?

There aren't celebrity judges or a trip to Hollywood but stars can still be made at event

December 22, 2010|By MARIE GILBERT
  • File photo Ellis Duffey belts out a song during the audition round at last year's Washington County Senior Idol Contest.
File photo

They might not be as blonde as Carrie Underwood but some could be as gray as Taylor Hicks.

And instead of the spike heels preferred by many contestants, this group may opt for more sensible shoes.

What they all will have in common, however, is a talent for singing.

In a few weeks, area adult vocalists will be competing in the 2011 Senior Idol Contest and Benefit, sponsored by the Washington County Commission on Aging.

The event will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, in the social hall of the First Baptist Church, 15 High St., in Hagerstown.

From country and gospel to rock 'n' roll and blues, all preferences in music are expected to be represented at the competition.

The only stipulation is age.

"This is a senior competition," said Ruth Brown, who is helping to organize the event. "You must be 60 years of age or older to participate."

Deadline for application to audition is Friday, Dec. 31.

In addition to highlighting vocal talents, the competition also is designed to demonstrate the vitality and vibrancy of older adults, Brown said.

The winner and runner-up will advance to the state final in March.

While the state-wide contest has been around for five years, Brown said this will be the second year it has been held locally.

Last year's event featured six contestants, she said, and generated a great deal of excitement.

Jack Myers, who sang "His Eye is on the Sparrow," was named the 2010 Washington County Senior Idol. Mike Cunningham, who played guitar and sang Ray Charles' "Crying Time," was runner-up.

This year, Brown is hoping to see more contestants competing on stage for the county title.

"My hope is that there will be more community involvement this time around," she said. "Last year, it was new. This year, we've been trying to get the word out with flyers, newspaper notices and contacts with local senior centers. I know we have a lot of talented singers out there."

She also is hoping for more sponsorship.

"It's been moving slowly with the bad economy," she said. "But as a nonprofit organization, we welcome sponsorship to aid with prizes and gift bags for our contestants."

While there is no entry fee to participate in the competition, there will be an admission fee of $5 for spectators. Tickets are available at the Commission on Aging, as well as the Senior Center at Girls Inc.

All proceeds will go to Washington County Meals on Wheels program, Brown said.

Much like its namesake, American Idol, Senior Idol contestants will face a panel of judges, said Brown.

The top two winners will receive cash prizes, she said. All contestants receive gift bags.

"It really is a fun event," Brown said. "And the winners do get local recognition."

Last year's Senior Idol, Jack Myers,  had a lot of singing engagements because of winning the title, she said.

In a recent interview, Myers said he was at the Commission on Aging last year when people began encouraging him to sign up for the competition.

"So I signed up and I won," he said.

Myers went on to the state contest in Howard County, which he described as "awesome."

"I didn't win, but it was a great experience," he said.  "It's something I'll never forget."

Again, this year, each jurisdiction will be sending their winner and runner-up to compete in the state competition on March 30 at the Chesapeake Theatre in Brooklyn Park, Md., in Queen Anne's County.

If you go ...

What: 2011 Senior Idol Contest and Benefit

When: Saturday, Jan. 15

Social hall of the First Baptist Church, 15 High St., in Hagerstown

Cost: $5 for spectators

Tickets: Available at Washington County Commission on Aging, 140 W. Franklin St., Suite 300, downtown Hagerstown; and Senior Center at Girls Inc., 626 Washington Ave., Hagerstown

If you sing ...

Applications to participate will be taken until Friday, Dec. 31.

 Persons interested in participating in the local Senior Idol, should contact the Washington County Commission on Aging for an application and more information by calling 301-790-0275.

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