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|10-03-02: St. Marys karaoke night
brings out the yodels, screams, croons and crowds
|By KELLY BRAUN
The Daily Standard
ST. MARYS < Karaoke night brings out all kinds of music lovers.
Thereıs Willie Nelson, Bon Jovi and Patsy Cline wanna-bes. There
are those who can yodel, and those who can scream ³I Love Rock ıNı Roll.² There are
hopefuls singing nearly every song, from ³Strokinı ² to ³It Had To Be You.²
But it really comes down to two types < the good and the tone deaf.
The spectacle and the fun is at the St. Marys Theater and Grand Opera
House on Wednesday nights during the weekly karaoke contest. More than 75 people showed up
to watch the 25 singers on stage during this weekıs show. Performers sing the lead, with
only instrumentals and backup singers as support.
Theater owner Tim Townsend of Celina began the karaoke contest on Sept.
18 and said he plans to hold it on Wednesday nights for eight weeks. Each night a winner
and runner-up will be chosen, who then advance to the finals on Nov. 13. The weekly
first-place winner earns $200 and a chance to win the final grand prize < a recording
package worth $5,000.
Townsend said he was shocked to see nearly 50 performers show up for
the first night and a good crowd follow last week and this week. But itıs not surprising
to those extroverts who just canıt stay away from a karaoke machine and a microphone.
Norman Hamlin, 62, of Celina said he takes every chance he can to get
on stage. Decked out in a red western shirt and white cowboy hat, Hamlin entertained the
crowd Wednesday night with ³Always On My Mind,² recorded by Willie Nelson.
Hamlin said he started singing karaoke four years ago, but was a
magician for 30 years prior to that. Heıs always been on stage, he said, and even uses
his looks, specifically his full white beard, to perform as that jolly old fella during
the holiday season.
³I just really enjoy singing. And even if you donıt win, you never
who is out in the audience,² Hamlin said while enjoying a drink after his performance.
Wapakoneta High School teacher Nikki Miller shocked the crowd when she
began to yodel during her version of LeAnn Rimesı ³Cowboy Sweetheart.² Who knew someone
from Wapakoneta could yodel?
Miller, a Wapakoneta native who now lives in Shawnee, said she learned
to yodel by just listening to it. She did take a few voice lessons when she was in high
school and college, but said she mostly just sings for the fun of it.
³Iım not looking for fame and fortune,² Miller said after her
performance. ³Iım just doing this for the fun.²
And she did have fun on stage. She even stepped into the crowd and
stole the cowboy hat from another country-singing competitor.
³Iım really not nervous up there,² Miller said. ³Iım in front of
200 kids every day, so this is nothing.²
Miller praised the younger performers who braved the bright lights
Wednesday night. The youngest, at age 13, sang Aretha Franklinıs ³Respect.²
³If I was a teen, you wouldnıt have caught me up there,² Miller
give those girls a lot of credit.²
Harrison Castlen, 51, of Celina said he is ³petrified² every time he
steps in front of the karaoke machine, but that hasnıt stopped him since he began six
years ago. He sang ³Portrait of My Love² in Steve Lawrence style.
The song was for his wife, Alice, who he always sings for, he said.
Tim Hager of Celina, who works at the Mercer County Engineerıs
Office, said most people donıt know he can sing. But he showed the crowd Wednesday night
when he sang Bon Joviıs ³Dead or Alive.²
On a less serious note came Don Davis of St. Marys, who sang
³Strokinı. ³Davis, the former owner of Flamingoıs Nite Club in Celina, stepped on
stage with his ³posse,² a group of teens who were supposed to be his backup dancers.
As Davis danced around the stage, belting out the words to the song,
his posse moved to the east and then moved to the west. Some members of the crowd even
joined in by line dancing in front of the stage.
³Itıs all fun,² Davis said after his grandstanding performance.
Whether itıs country, rock ını roll, the blues or your own
creation, thereıs a place for everyone on karaoke night.
The winners of last nightıs contest were: First-place, Linda Farmer of
Lima, singing ³Cry² in the style of Crystal Gayle; and second place, Debbie Lynn of
Ansonia, singing ³If You Came Back From Heaven,² as recorded by Lorrie Morgan.
The karaoke contest at the St. Marys Theater, located in downtown St.
Marys at 119 W. Spring Street, begins at 7 p.m. each Wednesday night and is open to the
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