Harford makes `Idol' mark

4 county seniors perform in competition for state title, including third-place winner

December 02, 2007|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun reporter

Harford County did not bring home the Maryland Senior Idol 2007 title, but its four contestants made their mark at last week's competition.

Leo Mahoney's Elvis Presley impersonation, complete with sequined jacket and gold scarf, rocked the hall Tuesday. The 78-year-old Belcamp resident swiveled his hips as he belted out "It's Now or Never."

"He is such a comic," said Betty Quattro of Cockeysville, who came to cheer on Mahoney after seeing him perform at her local senior center. "He keeps us all laughing, and that is what this is all about."

Juanita Barker was a few bars into "Rock A Bye Your Baby" when an enthusiastic fan called out, "Sing it for me, baby!" The Havre de Grace resident took third place, two points behind the winner, Merle Stanley of Woodlawn.

"I will probably come back next year," said Barker, 68, who drove a school bus with 21 seniors to the contest at the Chesapeake Arts Center in Brooklyn Park.

David Hooper, 64, of Bel Air donned dark shades and yelled, "Let's rock and roll." He played guitar and delivered an energized version of "Peggy Sue," which had the crowd clapping and swaying in the seats.

"You sure got my foot tapping," said Vivienne Shub, one of three judges.

Don Knox, 74, of Bel Air, the last of the 16 performers, went for a softer approach. He chose an old-fashioned love song and dedicated it to his wife, Mary.

"Who wouldn't love to have a love song sung just for you?" she asked.

The four contestants had advanced to the statewide contest by prevailing in a local competition at the McFaul Activities Center in Bel Air.

While the scores were being tallied, Ron Walls, an Aberdeen resident who won last year's competition and served as a judge this year, reprised the rousing gospel tune that took him to the top last year.

"This was a good experience for all of us," said Knox, a retired school administrator. "I enjoyed working with all these people. The camaraderie was wonderful."

mary.gail.hare@baltsun.com

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