Sutorius’ vocal skills land her in Star Search finalsPublished 9:12pm Thursday, May 29, 2014
The 15 performers competing in the grand finale of East Carolina Star Search come from all walks of life … but only one can claim a personal meeting with “Mr. Champagne Music” himself, entertainment legend Lawrence Welk.
Cindy Sutorius, also known as A cappella Cindy, had the opportunity to not only meet Welk, but she even auditioned for his popular television show.
“I guess you could say one of my early teenager years’ claims to fame was having the fun opportunity to sing a cappella for Lawrence Welk in his dressing room as he was performing at the Richmond Mosque Theater,” Sutorius recalls. ”My mom and my grandmother would watch his show every Saturday evening and, yes, sometimes I would have to sit there, too.”
With stars in her eyes, Sutorius’ mother wrote Welk a letter when she learned he would be performing in her Virginia hometown. She hoped to help her daughter land a guest appearance on the show.
“What high expectations,” Sutorius shared with a laugh. “Long story short, someone on his staff did respond using Mr. Welk’s stationary with his picture saying that Mr. Welk found his own talent and trained them himself to appear on his show. Well, my mother wouldn’t take that for an answer, so the night of the Lawrence Welk show in Richmond, we arrived really early and talked ourselves into being taken backstage to visit Mr. Welk in his dressing room.”
Mom wasn’t invited into the dressing room, but Welk did welcome young Cindy and asked her to sing.
“I can’t remember what I actually sang, something from the ‘Sound of Music’ I think,” Sutorius said. “Mr. Welk’s kindness and way about him was different, but the truth of the matter was he still didn’t want anyone that had any previous vocal training as he wanted to find his own talent, by his own means.”
Sutorius first stepped on stage at the age of 12 when she performed “Alice Blue Gown” during a Halloween contest; she took third place. She later sang in church choirs, school musicals, community plays and shows. After college and marriage she moved to Washington and though family obligations temporarily sidelined her singing career, she said she never stopped loving music.
“I was one of the original members of the Pamlico Sounds singing ensemble, and I was a board member and past president of the Beaufort County Community Concert Association,” Sutorius said. “I still use my God-given talent for Chocowinity Methodist Church and other called-on occasions.”
The Star Search grand finale is something Sutorius said she is looking forward to with much anticipation.
“It is an honor to sing for the Eagle’s Wings charity function with hopes to help it be an extremely successful event,” she said.
East Carolina Star Search is co-directed by Debbie Adams and Janet Cox. The talent showcase is presented by Eagle’s Wings and Le Moulin Rouge de Danse. Cash prizes for the top three finalists are donated by Lee Chevrolet and F. Ray Moore Propane. First place receives $1,000. Second and third prize winners will be awarded $500 and $250, respectively.
Tickets for the June 7 final competition may be purchased at Frank’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant, Backwater Jacks, Russell’s Men’s Wear and the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce.
For more information, visit www.ecstarsearch.net.