American Idol may be finished for the season, but for three Yorkers a more important musical competition is on the horizon.
Tom LaNasa, Jeff Mumma and Lynn Henderson Payne qualified for the semifinals of the seventh annual 2012 PA State Senior Idol competition on Monday, June 4.
More than 100 people auditioned in Harrisburg, Lancaster and York for the showcase of vocal, instrumental, comedic and dance talents by Pennsylvania residents age 50 and over.
The 15 semifinalists will perform to a sold-out crowd at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theater in Lancaster.
Blues singer: Mumma, of York Haven, is a harmonica and blues player and will be singing "Where the Stars and Stripes and Eagles Fly" by Aaron Tippin.
"We always hear all the doom and gloom about what's happening. I'm not one that's been around the world, but I've seen enough to know that we're a lot better off than the rest of the world," Mumma said.
"It was a popular song from the post 9-11 days and had spilled over into the pop scene, so that means even more people are familiar with it," said Mumma, 60. "To doom yourself in something like this is to go out and sing an original song you wrote that no one has ever heard. You've got to find something that people can relate to and sing along to."
Mumma was a member of a blues band and also honed his skills while jamming with members of the Blues Society of Harrisburg. He has also performed in musicals at his church, and continues to perform at carnivals and festivals with friends.
"I've been doing this for a little bit, but being on stage in front of a crowd of people - you still get butterflies," Mumma said.
"I'm still working on the presentation, but I'm very comfortable with the music," said Mumma. "In the first round I have to impress the judges, and in the second round I have to impress them and the audience because they get to vote."
Stage experience: Payne, of New Freedom, will be singing "Someone to Watch Over Me" by George Gershwin.
She has been performing in shows with the Theater of Performing Arts of Southern York County since it began 35 years ago.
"The audition went really well," said Payne, 55. "It was very early in the morning and they said I think you've performed on stage before, and I said yeah but not quite this early."
Payne also sings at weddings and funerals, and her family will be in the crowd cheering her on at the Senior Idol competition.
"I'm excited. I just really enjoy singing," said Payne. "I am most myself when I am singing."
Crooners: LaNasa, who lives in York City, chose to sing "Bumming Around" by Dean Martin for Senior Idol.
"I grew up listening to crooners like Bing Crosby and Dean Martin, and it's a nice simple song," said LaNasa, 55.
He will perform the song in a hobo costume complete with a bandanna knapsack on a stick.
LaNasa and his fiance sing at banquets, children's shows, campgrounds and other events with their business, Memory Music.
On-Line Publishers Inc. produces PA State Senior Idol each year. Diane Dayton of Dayton Communications will emcee the event, and local celebrity judges include R.J. Harris of WHP580, Buddy King of The Magnificent Men, Valerie Pritchett of abc27 and Janelle Stelson of WGAL-8.
Judges will choose three finalists after the first round of performances, and they will perform a second selection to vie for the title of PA State Senior Idol and win a limousine trip for two to New York City for dinner and a Broadway show.
For more information, call On-Line Publishers at 717-285-1350 or visit www.SeniorIdolPA.com.
Pennsylvania Senior Idol semifinalists:
Cheri Coleman Campbell, Coatesville, "My Tribute" by Andrae Crouch
Mark Ettaro, Reading, "I've Got You Under My Skin" by Frank Sinatra
Frank Fedele, Williamsport, "Walk Away" by Matt Monro
Nick Ferraro, Harrisburg, "Cara Mia Mine" by Jay & The Americans
Constance Kuba Fisher, Mechanicsburg, "Bye Bye" by Jo Dee Messina
Larry Gessler, Lancaster, "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" by Mel Torme
Dan Kelly, Philadelphia, "Mack the Knife" by Bobby Darin
Vicki Kissinger, Gap, "At Last" by Etta James
Tom LaNasa, York, "Bumming Around" by Dean Martin
Don "Duke" Larson, Belleville, "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra
Jeff Mumma, York Haven, "Where the Stars and Stripes and Eagles Fly" by Aaron Tippin
Victoria Newcomer, Mount Joy, "Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree" by K.T. Tunstall
Deb Olsen, Manheim, "You Should Be Dancing" by The Bee Gees
Lynn Henderson Payne, New Freedom, "Someone to Watch Over Me" by George Gershwin
Margie Sheaffer, New Providence, "Makin' Whoopee" by Eddie Cantor
- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or firstname.lastname@example.org