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Columns

Karaoke singers 'bring it' for charity

By ERNEST HOOPER
Published March 23, 2007


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Stage lights beam down as the woman grabs the microphone and wiggles onto the bar stool.

The first strains of the Dixie Chicks' Tonight The Heartache's On Me begin to play, and she hops down and bounces to the music while others wait in anticipation of her voice. She moves the bar stool and begins to dance. People clap and the place comes alive.

It's a typical karaoke scene, except for the setting. Instead of a smoky bar, it's the Brandon home of Tedd Webb.

"That's the beauty of getting divorced," cracked Webb, co-host of AM Tampa Bay on WFLA-AM 970. "No one can tell you what to do with your living room."

Karaoke became a passion for Webb about two years ago. He converted his living room into a soundstage that includes lights, microphones, speakers, monitors and recording equipment.

Now his passion has blossomed into a full-fledged fundraiser for the oncology unit at All Children's Hospital. On Monday, media personalities, sports celebrities and music stars will gather at the Improv at Centro Ybor for Karaoke For The Kids.

Webb will be joined by a long list of folks, including co-host Sharon Taylor, former American Idol contestant Melissa McGhee, Bucs receiver Michael Clayton, news anchors Gayle Guyardo and Linda Hurtado, tax collector Doug Belden, Blues Image founding member Joe Lala, and Times film critic Steve Persall.

I'm also singing - but we don't need to talk about that.

What does deserve mention is how Webb's little hobby has morphed into a supportive singing group known as the Famunda All Stars (www. famundaallstars.com).

Friends Bob and Cathy Tidler paid a visit to Webb's home and learned that house rules require everyone to sing at least one song on the karaoke machine. The Tidlers did, and when invited back, they brought a friend from Tedd's childhood days, Frank Garcia, the noted paleontologist.

Garcia has won a number of local karaoke contests and began to tell others. Suddenly, Webb realized he had the makings of something special.

Now, the group meets twice a month on Saturday nights at various locations, and some nights have drawn as many as 80 people. Webb says he wasn't surprised by the turnout because everyone has at least one song they can sing.

"What surprised me more was the quality of the singers," Webb said. "When you say karaoke, you think of people in bar having a bunch of alcohol for that liquid courage and then standing up and sounding terrible.

"At our place, it's not like that at all. Everyone does a great job. They bring it."

As for me, I don't know if I can bring it. My singing voice is better than you might think, but not nearly as good as I believe. If I could only find a way to get my shower on stage at the Improv.

That's all I'm saying.

If you go

Karaoke for the Kids

What: Benefits the oncology unit at All Children's Hospital

When: Monday, 6-10 p.m; doors open at 5

Where: Improv, Centro Ybor

Who: Local celebrities and media personalities

Tickets: $28 in advance, $32 on the day of performance; available at www.improvtampa.com

[Last modified March 23, 2007, 01:12:11]


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