Hundreds gathered at the amphitheater in Sinatra Park on Thursday to witness Hoboken’s sixth annual Sinatra Idol contest.
The winner of the event was James Anthony of Bristow, Va. Anthony, who grew up in Las Vegas during the 1970s, and said he began singing Sinatra because he needed therapy. He will now be singing in the “2012 Sinatra Birthday Bash” at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank on Dec 7.
“I got the crown in Virginia tonight,” joked Anthony. “These boys are going to have to take it from me.”
The host of the event was the appropriately-named Gary Simpsinatra, who kicked off Thursday’s event with a few of his own Sinatra renditions.
The contest drew 16 contestants from as far as Vancouver and Italy.
“This is probably why at the age of 61, I’ll live another 40 years.” – Larry Dubin
Prizes included trophies and gift certificates that were awarded to the top four contestants. The other winners included second place winner Larry Dubin of Port Washington, N.Y.; third place winner Danny Satin of Staten Island; and a fourth place tie between Ralph Muro and Donnie Farraro, of Midland Park and Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., respectively.
“I will be back next year,” said Dubin. “This is my pride and joy and this is my passion. This is probably why at the age of 61, I’ll live another 40 years.
The night ended as each annual event does, with all the singers in front of a series of microphones, serenading the crowd with “New York, New York.”
A cross off the bucket list
The large crowd contained families, passersby, residents, and visitors.
“This is great,” said Chris Nigro, whose run down the waterfront was interrupted when he came across one of the performances. “You can’t go wrong with Sinatra tunes on the waterfront.”
“It’s a beautiful night tonight,” said host Simpsinatra. “The sunset’s lighting up the sky – it’s a beautiful thing.”
One contestant, Ralph Muro, a retired teacher and football coach, said that it was a “thrill” to finally perform in his first Sinatra Idol.
“It’s something I can check off on my bucket list,” said Muro, who sang “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”
According to Director of Cultural Affairs Geri Fallo, sponsors for the event included Anastasia's Accessories, Leo's Grandevous, Onieals Restaurant, Lepore’s Chocolates, Empire Coffee & Tea Co., Inc, The Hoboken Man, Trinity, Madison Bar & Grill, Stan's Sports Center, Tutta Pasta, Carp Diem, Arthur’s Steakhouse, Three A’s Bar, Pleasant Road Spa, The Village Pourhouse, The Wicked Wolf, Pleasant Road Spa, and Tunes.
Contestants included Rick Valiant of Vancouver; Gary Willner of Valley Cottage, N.Y.; Tony Palumbo of Midland Park; James Anthony of Bristow, Va.; Sean Hanlon of Holmdel; Barry Wayne of Hoboken; George Chartofillis of West Caldwell; Ralph Muro of Endicott, N.Y.; Al Procaccino of Holmdel; Anthony Kane of Hoboken; Alex Grigato of Mantova, Italy; Salvatore Gigante of Newark; Donnie Farraro of Hasbrouck Heights; Larry Dubin of Port Washington, N.Y.; Ed Houff of Wilmington, Delaware; Bill Gagliardi of Lakewood.
Stephen LaMarca may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.