May 27, 2011

McLeod hosts 'Singing with the Stars' competition

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- "American Idol" has a winner and the season is over, but Singing with the Stars is on at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Doors open at 7 p.m. on June 3 at McLeod Theater, located in the Communications Building on campus. Competition begins at 7:30 p.m.

Competition for what? For “Idol of the Year,” that’s what. This year’s competition features several past winners, including the Rev. John Annable, from the First United Methodist Church in Carbondale; Debbie Moore, executive director of the Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau; Dr. Marsha Ryan, assistant professor of general surgery at the SIU School of Medicine; and Harvey Welch, former vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of student life at SIUC.

Other singing competitors include Emily Fink, a Carbondale Community High School student, and Joel Fritzler, research project specialist for the SIUC Office of Research and Development and recently elected Carbondale mayor.

The musical direction for the evening comes from Derek Hamblin from the School of Music. John Robert Moss, doctoral student in speech communication, acts as emcee. The judges are Diane Daughtery, SIUC women’s golf coach; Mike Hanes, former Marching Salukis conductor; and Bryan Rives, director of Event Services at SIUC.

The judges are only part of the equation. In true “Idol” fashion, audience votes count. This is a fundraiser for the McLeod Summer Playhouse, so competitor patrons buy votes at $1 apiece or $5 for six votes.

This year’s event features wine courtesy of Bob and Marge Schulhof, appetizers from Hunan Village restaurant, and desserts from Lipe Orchards. Non-alcoholic beverages are also on the menu.

Tickets are $35. Tickets are available in advance at the McLeod Theater and the Shryock Auditorium box offices from noon to 5 p.m. weekdays, by calling 618/453-6000 or online at You can also get tickets at the door beginning an hour before the performance.