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Vocal Talent and Charisma Aplenty at "Golden Idol"

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Cradling the microphone, Anne Barschall belted out the National Anthem in her operatic, soprano voice. At the song's end, the packed room, decorated with gold balloons, erupted with applause and cheer.

The sixth annual "Golden Idol" karaoke competition kicked off Friday with the whole room singing "America, The Beautiful." More than a dozen singers over the age of 50 impressed the judges and audience with their musical talent.

"I'm a little nervous," said Barschall, a Tarrytown resident, who missed the competition in 2010. "I tried singing karaoke once before, but because I'm classically trained as a soprano, the microphone doesn't always do that well."

George Coniglio, the coordinator of the senior citizen department at the Theodore D. Young Community Center, brought karaoke to the center to showcase the seniors' talent in an "American Idol" format.

Amidst nearly 100 attendees, Art Burnap of Yonkers won second place by singing a deep-voiced "Impossible Dream." Burnap and his wife, a member of the Community Center for 25 years, are very active in the Greenburgh community.

"Music is a funny kind of a thing," said Burnap, who sang in Japan during his five-and-a-half years residing there. "Music reaches out to people in the same way that language does. It reaches out around the globe."

One of the first to flex her vocal chops was Mary Cynthia Brown, an Elmsford resident and six-time "Golden Idol" participant, who once won third place.

"It feels good to sing and show off my talent," said Brown. "I enjoy it. It gives me something to do."

When it came time for the award ceremony, last year's champion, Joel Turner of White Plains, hoisted the largest trophy again after he dazzled the audience with charisma and talent while singing "My Girl" and "This Magic Moment." The judges awarded Burnap with the second place trophy. Greenburgh's Bob Plenty won third for singing "How Great Thou Art."

In light of the fun and talent seen during this year's "Golden Idol," the Theodore D. Young Community Center is beginning a sing-a-long group every Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Contact Coniglio at 914-989-3622 for more details.

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