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Midnight Sun: Karaoke for a Cure
Two weekends ago I was invited to be a judge at the Karaoke for a Cure, a benefit to raise funds for the fast-approaching Yuma County Relay for Life.
I agreed because it is always fun to watch total and complete str angers sing (or attempt to sing) karaoke, but also because I believe in the cause.
My grandma, Dorothy Spain, once had esophageal cancer, and while it didn't kill her immediately, it forever changed the quality of her life. I can remember driving with her to San Diego when she was getting her chemotherapy and radiation treatments when I was a little boy 20 years ago. It was awful to see her in pain. While she beat the cancer, and the doctors were able to save her voice box, her voice was never the same.
She always had a gravelly sound for the rest of her life when she spoke, and she couldn't eat certain foods. She still liked the way they tasted, so she would chew on the food and spit it out because she couldn't swallow it.
I'm sure that many others who have also been touched by this killer epidemic also want a cure to be found.
Karaoke for a Cure took place at the Yuma Palms Regional Center.
I sat down with fellow judge Nick Ciletti, who anchors the "Early Edition" on KYMA, to observe the random local talent.
To participate, karaoke contestants needed only to donate a few dollars and pick a song. There was also a "shut-up jar," where people could drop in some dead presidents to make the singer stop if they sounded like a colony of cats howling while clawing chalkboards.
The contestants were competing for gift certificates to Buffalo Wild Wings, which may have given them the extra courage to get up on stage.
Just like all karaoke, there were some good acts and some not so good.
For some reason, large groups of teenage girls gathered and went on stage together. I could tell they were having fun as they sang along to famous pop songs. I guess this was an example of good peer pressure.
There was an older cat named Dino who sang three jazzy Frank Sinatra tunes and he was one of the standouts of the evening. The thing about Dino is that he has Parkinson's Disease, and his doctors said a good way to fight the tremors is to keep singing.
I am also familiar with that disease. My grandpa, Charles McDaniel, had it in the ’90s and I watched as it ate him from the inside out. It really says something about Dino's resilience that he can stand up in front of so many people and sing.
The event was a lot of fun and event organizers said they were able to raise some money and signed up more teams for the upcoming relay.
John Courtis, one of the guys in charge of putting on the relay, said there are already 102 teams signed up for this year and 1,627 participants as of Wednesday. That is up from 1,358 participants in 2009 and there is still time for more to sign up.
The event will be held April 17 at Desert Sun Stadium. For more information call 920-7390 or log on to www.relayforlife.org/yumaaz.
See you next week under the midnight sun...