BROOKLYN BUZZ: Senior Idol competition returns

September 2, 2011 Heather Chin
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We live in a world where our later years are referred to as ourGolden Years and songs from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s are calledthe Golden Oldies. So it is only right to assume that we alsobecome golden-throated as time goes by.

Whether that’s so or not, Brooklynites age 50 and older havebeen signing up in droves to audition for Brooklyn’s Fifth AnnualSenior Idol competition, to be held on Thursday, October 1. Notonly does it promise to be a grand time for the whole family, butit is also for a good cause, as ticket sales will go to a localAARP chapter.

If you are 50 years old or older, live in Brooklyn and cansing, this is an extraordinary opportunity for you to shine andshow us real talent, said AARP Chapter #5055 President AlbertAsfazadour. This is a chance of a lifetime and it will be anevening to remember.

Each year, a panel of judges chooses 10 contestants from theaudition pool to compete at a live show in front of family, friendsand neighbors, during which audience votes will help choose awinner who goes home with $500 and the title of Brooklyn’s SeniorIdol.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Last year’s winner was Nunzio Franzese, 56, of Gravesend, whowon the competition with the song that brought him good luck in hisaudition – Mack the Knife, most famously sung by Bobby Darin. Acasual crooner at family karaoke parties, Franzese said that hedecided to audition after friends saw a flyer and convinced himthat he had a good enough voice to compete.

On what he would tell this year’s aspiring Idols, Franzese saidto remember that the audience has a say and, I think the songs theaudience likes to hear are more upbeat.

Give it your best and have fun – that’s the main thing. Havefun and just be natural, he urged. Win or lose, I had thegreatest time I had in years.

What makes Senior Idol great, says co-organizer Gail Asfazadour,is the fact that it is a community event.

The greatest part of this is the audience votes with thejudges, she said. The contestants bring their friends and family,and everyone screams and cheers them on, so it becomes a warm andfun and exciting event where [people] come from all overBrooklyn.

Making the evening even more memorable is the presence ofnotable New Yorkers such as radio host Joe Franklin as the emcee ofthe night’s festivities and a surprise celebrity guest judge.Previous year’s celebrity judges have ranged from radio host Don K.Reed of WCBS-FM and actor Tony Sirico of The Sopranos to Journeylead singer Steve Augeri.

The celebrity judge’s job is to join judges Joe Loposky, musicaldirector at Xaverian, and Nancy Liatsis, musical director atGateway City Church and the first Senior Idol winner, in whittlingdown the contestant pool from dozens to just 10.

So far, 41 people have signed up to audition for the fifthannual Senior Idol, but registration will be open through Friday,September 9.

Auditions will be held on Saturday, September 10, at 10 a.m. atXaverian High School, 7100 Shore Road. The live finals performancewhere the top 10 contestants will perform live will be held atXaverian on Thursday, October 1, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $15;this year, five raffle tickets will be included in the price ofadmission.

Interested Brooklynites are encouraged to register by callingGail or Al Asfazadour at 718-833-0220 or State Senator MartyGolden’s office at 718-238-6044. Golden, who will not beparticipating – although he technically could – is a co-sponsor ofthe event. Other sponsors include AARP #5055, TD Bank, Long’sLiquors, Connors & Sullivan Attorneys-at-Law and 5-hour ENERGY,as well as others.

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