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Event lends musical voice to abused, neglected kids

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Charlie Farber broke into laughter when someone asked if he planned to be a backup singer at the upcoming inaugural “Crooners for CASA” fundraiser April 12 at Mill Race Center in Columbus.

“I should be singing not just backup but waaaaaay back up,” Farber said.

“I really haven’t done karaoke before. And you soon will find out why.”

Farber will be one of several members of a MainSource Bank team facing off against four other squads in a karaoke contest to benefit Advocates for Children’s Court Appointed Special Advocates program.

It uses trained volunteers to speak in court on behalf of abused and neglected children in south-central Indiana.

Farber first heard of the work of CASAs when he served on the United Way of Bartholomew County allocations committee a few years ago.

“They do a terrific job for something that is very, very important,” he said.

That’s a good reason why Columbus resident Hutch Schumaker is involved as a vocalist on another team for the event, in which audience members will vote with money for their favorite vocal yokels.

He loves his teammates Kim DeClue, Joe Sheehy and Buck Ritz.

But as far as he knows, only musician DeClue has any singing experience.

Even in the shower.

And he believes that could literally strike a sour note with listeners.

“We don’t believe we would receive any top votes based on vocal quality,” Schumaker said. “But maybe we would win in votes for comic relief.”

Humor is indeed part of the gathering.

One team of female vocalists — made up of Suzanne Wells, Melissa Morelli, Becky Speaker, Jennifer Rumsey, Christine Schaefer and Ginger Lirette — is billing itself as She Stole My Beer.

However, behind the silliness is serious work.

“The Crooners committee has put a lot of thought and work into the program for the evening,” Advocates for Children President Mike Rossetti said.

“Community members have stepped up in sponsorship and to perform, and I believe we’re headed toward an epic Columbus party for a great cause.”

Other teams are The Melanies with Tanya Ely, Peggy Clarence, Mandy Miller, Patty Hannasch and Vikki Johnson.

New Kids on the Mic features Erin and Bryan Kendall, Sarah McGovern, and Jacki and Andy Mann.

Following the group performances and announcement of winners, an open mic session will allow audience members to perform.

Disc jockey Steve Harvey, also known as Apollo, will emcee the evening and will keep the music playing.

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