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Townsend business-owner jets karaoke contest into high gear

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GROTON — Attention wannabe singing sensations in the Nashoba Valley area! Quit hiding your talents under a bushel basket and show it off by checking out the latest opportunity being offered by Townsend resident Heather DiNitto-Owner!

Owner of Key Performance Entertainment & Events, DiNitto is kicking off a Karaoke contest series she began last year into high gear with increased professionalism, more cash prizes, and most important of all, more excitement!

Her latest multi-week contest began Feb. 16 and continues to May 3, but fear not, potential celebs! You can still sign up anytime over the next four weeks as the contest moves along because Key Performance reserves the right to extend it longer if the number of contestants joining in demands it.

The contest itself will run every consecutive Thursday at Beemers Pub in Fitchburg for 12 weeks and is open to anyone 21 years or older.

“In my business, I run all different types of events and do event design for public venues and private functions,” said DiNitto. “I’ve been doing the bi-annual Karaoke contests for a year now and this is the third competition in the series. When we started, we were giving just a $1,000 first prize but the contests have become so popular that we’ve since worked the prizes up to $1,500, $800, and $400. Nobody, no other contest is offering that kind of money.

“When we started the Karaoke contest, it was going to be hit or miss,” said DiNitto. “We didn’t know how it was going to be. We didn’t have high expectations but it turned out to be very, very good. Today, we’re getting up to 30 contestants each night. As a result, the contest has changed over the past year. This time around, we’re going to be doing it in the style of American Idol with judges in three different categories: vocal ability, difficulty of song, and overall performance. The performances will be scored from 1 to 10 in each category for a total of 30 points from each judge.

“Also, reaction to each performance will be tracked by an applause meter with results displayed on a large screen so that everyone can see,” continued DiNitto. “And the score they get on the applause meter is included with the judges’ scores so audiences are encouraged to cheer and make as much noise as they want during their favorite performances. The more people a contestant brings to cheer for them, the more likely that they’ll get a high score.

“What’s different about my Karaoke competitions is that they’re very professional,” DiNitto promised. “There’s no favoritism allowed and I rotate judges as much as I can. It’s an opportunity to bring people together who have talent. It gets people out of their homes and to show off what they have and win money too. It’s not perfect yet, but we get better at it all the time.”

DiNitto herself is no stranger to the music industry and professional entertaining having been involved in many different aspects of each over her career.

“I’ve been a musician for about 15 years now,” revealed DiNitto.

“I come from a music background and was in the entertainment business for a long time. I was even a DJ when I was 14 years old. Since then, I got into other things and later put music aside for a number of years. But after being laid off twice, I decided that it was time for a change. I wanted to do something different that nobody else was doing. I wanted to do something that I enjoyed. I’ve been in competition for Karaoke myself and was front woman for a band.”

As for her new Karaoke venture, DiNitto said its success has taken her a bit by surprise with contestants and audience members coming from as far away as the greater Boston area to attend.

“I’m holding the contests to promote everyone involved,” said DiNitto. “Even if a person is not performing, they’ll still have a good time.”

For those who have been living on an isolated asteroid in space somewhere, Karaoke is the art of singing along to a music track, usually of a popular song, as the lyrics are displayed on a video screen. It is a fun activity that has grown in popularity in restaurants, bars, and parties over the last several years.

To sign up for the latest Karaoke contests or to seek more information about Key Performance, those interested can go to the company’s website at http://www.jeffbowers.net/dj/Contest2012.pdf

But for those wallflowers hesitant to take the plunge this time, despair not! Key Performance is already planning for another contest later in the year.

“This is a large contest that I run bi-annually,” said DiNitto of the current competition. “It’s the first one for this year but I’ll hold another one in the fall.”