Developmentally disabled stars top the charts as karaoke night grows

February 06, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION |
  • Debbie Matthews, left, of Boonsboro, and Joe Ferarelli of Hagerstown sing together on Wednesday during Karaoke Night at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hagerstown.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Pat Kurtz said she and others came up with an idea to offer karaoke nights to give developmentally disabled people something to do during the winter months.

But Kurtz said it is hard to hold such activities in places such as bars.

Therefore, Kurtz and other members of the Tri-State Civitan club are now welcoming dozens of developmentally disabled people for regular karaoke nights at Trinity Lutheran Church on Randolph Avenue.

Thanks to help from DJ Bobby Hayes and Trinity Lutheran Church, which decided to provide space for the event, Tri-State Civitan is able to provide developmentally disabled people two hours of karaoke fun in the lower level of the church.

“We started this and it’s just growing, growing and growing,” said Kurtz, who is chairperson of the event.

Kurtz said about 35 people came to the first karaoke night in November and about 60 came to the second one in January. The lower level of the church was filling up again Wednesday night as people took turns at karaoke or at times joining as a group to dance to a song.

The event is free to people with developmental disabilities and snacks are offered. Kurtz said about 50 percent of the people coming to the event are from agencies that care for the developmentally disabled.

Much of the work of Tri-State Civitan is focused on helping local residents with developmental disabilities, said Hagerstown resident Cliff Metger, president of the Hagerstown-based organization.

The organization helps disabled people fill gaps in their healthcare, like assistance with dental care and medication needs, Metger said.

At one time, Tri-State Civitan had been shrinking in size but since 1996 it has been growing and has about 40 active members, Metgar said.

The group’s next karaoke night at Trinity Lutheran Church is March 27.

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