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Ramping up for 2010 Manteca Idol
Beverly Zeller and Talia Gonsalvez, both 11, work on their performance skills during the karaoke session. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL/ The Bulletin
It was a reuniting of old friends and timid newcomers that wanted to work on their vocal skills as the Manteca Idol season quickly approaches.

And there’s nothing better than cutting loose in front of a group of strangers and a group of friends that come out to Main Street Café on Yosemite Avenue Monday night to support their venture toward the ladder of the upcoming Manteca Idol competition. The evening blended together a group of fresh faces and established veterans that just love the thrill of performing.

While there were still some newcomers in the room, multiple-year participants like Robin Glover eased their anxiety with the Sara Bareilles track “Love Song” where she never even looked at the monitor for the words that by now she knows like the back of her hand.

“This is my first time at the karaoke night here, and it’s a chance to get the butterflies out as we get closer to the actual competition,” Glover said. “I just love performing and this gives me a chance to polish things up. I think it’s a great idea.”

Originally brainstormed by Manteca Idol judge Julie Torres as a way to both spend time with her daughters as well as offer an avenue for Idol hopefuls, the weekly sessions have been getting bigger and bigger – bringing in some of the fresh faces into the already established posse of performers that know what it is to go through the motions of preparing to perform.

“It gives people a chance to loosen up when they don’t have a whole lot of performance experience,” Torres said. “There’s a good atmosphere among those who come out, and we’re happy that the number of people has continued to grow – we’re seeing a lot of familiar faces, and that’s really a good thing for the younger and more inexperienced singers.

“And this gives me another night where I can do something with my children, which really means a lot to me.”

With the official start date for Manteca Idol set for mid-August, Torres says she’ll continue to have the karaoke nights at Main Street Café on Yosemite Avenue on Monday Nights from 4 to 7 p.m. – even after the competition begins.

“It can be nerve wracking getting up and trying a new song in front of people, but here everybody is supportive,” she said. “It’s turning into a great event, and I’m happy to see that.”