“I’m overwhelmed. I’m so very thankful,” stated Mike Beezley, the 2013 Cancer Care Fund Idol Variety Nite People’s Choice winner. Receiving congratulations from family and friends and members of his congregation in Clunette, this year’s winner thanked God for “… all these wonderful people (who came to the event). I can’t even believe it.”
As the 2013 Idol Nite People’s Choice Winner, Beezley received $1,000.
The Idol Nite People’s Choice Winner is the contestant who raised the most money for the Kosciusko County Cancer Care Fund. But Beezley wasn’t the only contestant who won.
Kylene Crabb was the Judges Choice winner, chosen by the four judges: Greg Horton, Kelly Britton, Patrick Kaabanaugh and Mary Crane.
The real winners, however, are the residents of Kosciusko County who are battling cancer and who have available the funds raised to ease the burden of paying living expenses while going through cancer treatment.
Since the inception of Idol Nite, over $100,000 has been raised for the fund. Totals from this year’s events will not be known until next week.
Matt Niemier, host for the evening, was right when he stated this year’s contest had incredible talent with not a weak spot in the group. The eight contestants sang their hearts out and a few brought tears to the eyes of the audience with their song choices and their heartfelt deliverance of their particular songs.
Beezley played an electrical ukulele and an unique presentation of “Over the Rainbow.” Beezley a county native, grew up in North Webster and now resides in Leesburg with his wife, Hope, and daughter, Ella. He is the art director for Bart’s Water Sports and pastor at Clunette United Methodist Church. He also plays bass guitar and creates art.
Crabb, who grabbed the attention of the audience and judges and brought a few tears to the eyes of the audience sang “Anyway.” She is a farm girl who grew up in rural Mellott and now resides in Mentone. Singing at church, high school and college, she sang gospel and country music at many fairs and festivals throughout the state. She opened a show for Lee Ann Womack and moved to Nashville, Tenn., to pursue a country music career, but came back to Indiana to be an elementary teacher. She and her husband, Josh, have three children: Colton, Kinley and Nolan.
Bringing tears to the eyes of the audience was Sasha Beliles when she sang a fitting song, “I’m Gonna Love You Through It;” a song dealing with a woman finding out she had breast cancer and her husband loving her through it. Emotion hit Beliles through the song who stayed strong among wiping tears from her own eyes. “Cancer has affected quite a few family members of mime, so this fundraiser really hits home for me,” she later explained.
Each of the other five contestants were special in their own unique ways: Karrie “Lynn” Burkhart, was an opening act for Charles Daniels Band, Juice Newton, Bryan Adams and others. She herself is a cancer survivor and within six years lost most of her family to cancer, including her late husband. She sang “At Last.”
Briana Sue Marshall, a senior at IPFW, sang “Mama’s Broken Heart.” Her grandmother is a breast cancer survivor and her grandfather passed away last year from prostrate cancer.
Heather Clemons sang “Stars” and has been in a few singing competitions from Hometown Idol to karaoke.
The two youngest contestants held their own with the seasoned singers. Sara Bowling, 14, is an eighth grade student at NorthWood Middle School. She played guitar and sang “Mad World.”
Jade Pulsipher, 17, who lives in North Webster, sang “Halo” and is familiar with cancer having lost a grandfather and knowing multiple people who deal with the battle every day.
Dr. Musaberk Goksel, Cancer Care Center at KCH provided a few words of inspiration and a few comical comments as well. Goksel noted citizens in the United States are fortunate to have the medication available to fight cancer almost as soon as it becomes approved as other countries have to wait two to three years. “While cancer is a horrible disease, you live in the right country. We are working hard to fight and find a cure, even if I’d be out of a job,” he said.
Romy Reich, 2012 Judges Choice winner for Idol Nite, opened the evening with “Killin’ Me Softly” and later paid a tribute to cancer survivors with “Don’t Stop Believing.”
Additional entertainment was provided by Deb Collier’s School of Dance.