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2017-05-17 / Featured / Front Page

Senior Idol contestants get down, fight for title

BY BEN ORCUTT CONTRIBUTING WRITER


Steve Harris and L.T. Holmes won first place during the Senior Idol final Friday night at Victory Tabernacle Church. They sang the 1972 classic “Me and Mrs. Jones.” 
JAMES HASKINS Steve Harris and L.T. Holmes won first place during the Senior Idol final Friday night at Victory Tabernacle Church. They sang the 1972 classic “Me and Mrs. Jones.” JAMES HASKINS A s soon as L.T. Holmes and Steve Harris hit the stage Friday night at Victory Tabernacle Church for the

2017 Senior Idol contest, there was no doubt these guys were there to get down.

Resplendent in their black tuxes, black ties and black hats, the only question was whether they would sing as good as they looked. If so, they were going to be hard to beat. They did and they were.

The duo sang a rousing rendition of Billy Paul’s 1972 hit “Me and Mrs. Jones” and claimed the first-place trophy and $300 prize in the seventh annual Senior Idol contest sponsored by The Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield.

A retired U.S. Army command sergeant and Prince George County resident, Holmes, 65, said Paul’s Grammy-winning song was “very inspirational.”


JoAnn Spain won second place after singing “Caberet” from the 1966 Broadway musical. 
JAMES HASKINS JoAnn Spain won second place after singing “Caberet” from the 1966 Broadway musical. JAMES HASKINS “[It’s] one of those songs I think any audience can connect to, and so that’s why we really enjoy singing it,” he said.

Harris, 64, a retired school teacher and Chester resident, said he and Holmes were pleased with their win.

“It’s a good thing,” Harris said. “All the accolades, they are wonderful, but the thing is, what we enjoy most is singing in front of the crowd. If we win, it’s OK. If we don’t, it’s OK also.”

Harris said he and Holmes had narrowed down their choice of songs to sing for the 2017 Senior Idol contest to two.

“It was ‘Me and Mrs. Jones,’ and ‘Just My Imagination,’ by The Temptations,” Holmes said. “Now, had we done that song, it would have been more choreography, because those guys, they just are on point at all times.”

Harris and Holmes were on point throughout their performance.

“When I get up on stage, I’m in, like, a different zone,” Harris said. “Once I step in front of the public, that’s it. I’m in my zone, if you want to call it that.”

Like Harris, Holmes said it was “great” that they captured first place and that “Me and Mrs. Jones” did it for them.

“I am excited,” Holmes said. “I think that that’s a great song, and [it’s exciting] to have the opportunity to sing with my friend. We’ve been singing together since 2009.”

Susan McCammon, executive director of the Shepherd’s Center of Chesterfield, said Senior Idol is not only a fun event, but one that helps the organization raise funds to carry out its mission.

“Our mission is to help provide free transportation to doctors’ appointments, grocery shopping, food pantries and dental appointments, and it helps with our HandyHands program and also our lifelong learning program,” she said. “It’s all to keep seniors aging in place.”

The Senior Idol competition was open to seniors 50 and above, McCammon said, adding that this year’s contest began with 22 entrants from the greater Richmond and Tri-Cities areas, which was narrowed to 12 for Friday night’s final showdown. Kitty Fowler of Hopewell took third place in the Senior Idol contest, singing “The Tennessee Waltz,” a song made famous by Patti Page.

A songstress for 45 years, Fowler, 73, said that when she was trying to decide what to sing for this year’s contest, she came across “The Tennessee Waltz” and decided to give it a trial run.

“When I tried it, I said, ‘Oh, I’ve got to do that song. I love it,’” she said.

Fowler said she was “happy, happy,” that the judges and the audience enjoyed it as much as she did.

JoAnn Spain, a retired 66-year-old optician from Winterpock, has been singing for decades, and her stirring rendition of “Cabaret,” from the 1966 hit Broadway musical of the same name, earned her a second-place trophy and $200 in this year’s Senior Idol competition.

“I always did serious songs before, but this time I said, ‘You know, I’m not getting any younger. I’m going to act up,’” Spain said of her decision to perform “Cabaret.”

Spain said she didn’t anticipate that she would place as well as she did.

“I came for the fun and to support the seniors,” she said. “This organization does so much good for the seniors of this county.” ¦

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