Senior Idols Advance

| February 21, 2011 | 0 Comments

Winners Shirley Valencia, left, and Betty Roesler accept congratulations after winning the Anne Arundel County auditions for the Maryland Senior Idol Vocal Competition.

A singing hairdresser from Brooklyn and a retired dental assistant from Severn won the chance to represent Anne Arundel County in the Maryland Senior Idol Vocal Competition after auditions were held Friday at the Pascal Senior Activity Center in Glen Burnie. More than 60 people watched the auditions on the center’s theater stage.

A hair dresser for 41 years, Shirley Valencia says all the hair stylists at Nance’s Styling Salon in Brooklyn Park as well as her three daughters love to sing. While she has no formal vocal training, she is capable of singing alto to high soprano and sings in her church choir at Lansdowne Worship Center. A Barbra Steisand fan, she chose “The Way We Were” for her winning song.

Betty Roesler began singing at the age of five on the “Candy Corner” television show on WBAL-TV in Baltimore. Several audience members raised their hands when she asked if anyone remembered the show, where she appeared weekly. She’s sung at the Anne Arundel County Fair, and at many churches and schools and for local charities. Her winning song was “Don’t You Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” performed in the Crystal Gayle style, she says.

Named alternate was Marcia Davis, the leader of the Pascal Go-Getters senior performing group, who sang “Return to Me.”

“We had 12 contestants who were all wonderful,” including four men and eight women, says Nancy Allred, director of the center and event coordinator. Ages of the contestants ranged from 60 to 80 years old.

Judges Carol Boyer, membership director of the North Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce, and Tom Neuenschwander, retired county music teacher and director of the county teachers’ chorus, selected the winners to advance to the state competition.

The judges were listening for vocal quality, if the singer could project and have a good stage presence, and interact with the audience. Selection of the winners was difficult, as song styles were different – for example, one performer sang “The Lord’s Prayer,” another performed “Country Roads,” and a third sang a folk round.

The two county winners will perform at the 5th annual Maryland Senior Idol Vocal Competition on March 30 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Lane, Brooklyn Park. The public can attend. Tickets are $6 and may be purchased at the door. Proceeds will benefit the Maryland Food Bank. The event is coordinated by the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks – Senior Division. At this point nine counties in the state of Maryland are sending contestants. Winners will receive gift baskets and other recognition.

The county competition was coordinated by the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities.

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Category: Events, LIFE IN THE AREA, Seniors

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John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for more than 15 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

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