For Ilene Gentzler, singing is like breathing.
So when she takes the stage for the 2012 Ms. Pennsylvania Senior America Pageant, she isn't really concerned about winning.
Gentzler, 66, of Springettsbury Township, had not even heard about the event until someone suggested she enter.
When her employer, Country Meadows Retirement Communities, agreed to be her sponsor she decided to do just that.
Gentzler and five other Pennsylvania women over age 60 will compete in the pageant from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Elks Lodge, at 223 N. George St., York.
The contestants will be judged on the talent and the evening gown portions of the competition on stage Sunday. They'll also have 35 seconds to share
personal philosophies. An off-stage interview also will factor into the judging.
Faith: Gentzler will sing "I Believe," a song she chose because it goes with her philosophy of life, which is to serve Jesus Christ.
She has been singing in the choir at her church for 60 years and also formed her own singing group, Traveling Light For Christ, to sing for residents at local nursing homes.
Peggy Pabon, 69, of Manchester Township, also will represent the York area in the pageant. Pabon will perform a Spanish dance.
Members of the White Rose Chorus will perform and escort the women on stage.
The Pennsylvania Senior Idol, Peggy Keller will also perform, and there will be food and raffle prizes.
Everyone is welcome to attend for a $5 donation at the door.
Advancing: The winner from Pennsylvania will go on to the 42nd annual National Ms. Senior America competition held in October at Harrod's in Atlantic City. The competition was created to celebrate and promote women who have reached the "age of elegance."
Last year's Pennsylvania winner, Nanette Swanson of Harrisburg, was the second runner-up nationally and will attend this year's pageant. The 2010 national winner, Dr. Kimberly Moore of the Virgin Islands, also will attend.
This is the third year the pagaent has run in Pennsylvania and the second year it has been held in York.
"We are a newer state with the pageant," said state director Barbara DeLeon. "The pageants seem to be more popular in the southern states. We're trying to build up the treasury and set up a full pageant and get others in the area involved."
Last-minute contestants are still welcome, DeLeon said. For more information about entering or attending, contact state directors Doris Ulrich at 717-926-1322 or Barbara Ann DeLeon at 717-428-2210.
-- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or email@example.com