Out & About: Diversity Coalition scores a big hit with karaoke
Move over “American Idol” and “The Voice,” here comes the Westmoreland Diversity Coalition with a local vocal competition.
The inaugural Leadership Karaoke, held March 2 at Ferrante’s Lakeview in Hempfield, featured community leaders surprising the audience — and even themselves — with their singing talents.
Apparently, state Sen. Kim Ward is known far and wide for her karaoke chops, but Cindy Leonard, executive director of the YWCA Westmoreland, said her husband of 14 years first heard her sing just hours before showtime.
Leonard chose “Landslide,” by Fleetwood Mac, while Ward got down to “Uptown Funk,” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.
Coalition founders and board co-chairs Carlotta Paige and Rabbi Sara Perman were the driving forces behind the event. Perman also took a turn at the mic with the old Louis Armstrong standard, “What a Wonderful World” — representing the mission of the coalition, she said.
Other performers and their song choices included:
Dirk Matson, director of Westmoreland County Behavioral Health and Developmental Service: “I’m Pretty Good at Drinking Beer” by Billy Currington
Ted Kopas, Westmoreland County commissioner: “Kiss” by Prince
Tay Waltenbaugh, CEO of Westmoreland Community Action: Jimmy Ruffin’s “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted”
Sheila Confer, director of the Academic Village at Pitt-Greensburg: Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”
Phil Koch, executive director of the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County: “Sweet Home Chicago” popularized by the Blues Brothers
Anne Kraybill, Richard M. Scaife director/CEO of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art: “Love Me or Leave Me” recorded by Nina Simone.
Prior to the competition, Aileen Rosario, an employee of Westmoreland Community Action and native of Puerto Rico, offered a song in Spanish. Entertainment coordinator Vanessa Beggs also belted out a tune prior to the second set.
Voting was by monetary donation, with ladies sweeping the top spots: Ward, first; Perman, second; and Confer, third.
Paige and Perman said they’re already working on next year’s karaoke. Paige said she’ll be twisting arms soon to secure the next batch of contestants.
Event committee members included Denise Holmes, Jim Galik, Al Thiel, Yvonne Hall, Theresa Matson, Joan McGarry and Christine Demnovich. Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Steve Limani emceed.
Seen: Terry Graft and Linda Brown, Anne- Marie Welty and Brian Geary, Laurie Barnett Levine, Tim Phillips, Barbara Jones, Doug Evans, Adam Shaffer and Sheila Cuellar-Shaffer, Nancy Anderson, Kelli Brisbane, Sherry Anderson, Ed DePasquale, Roy Aiken, Maggie James, Marcia Hoover, Gwendolyn Franklin and Pete Davis.
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .