Around Town: A weekend of music with NEPA Sings and Karl Hall


Broadway ballads, everyday radio favorites and more were on the lineup Thursday night at NEPA Sings – the inaugural American Idol-like competition benefiting CASA of Luzerne County.

The participants were diverse – ranging in age from the teens to a woman in her 40s.

To say the night was epic would be an understatement, because the more than six months of planning it took to pull it off showed. It showed in the professional performances, the musical selections and delivery, the packed house and the flow of the evening’s events.

WBRE/WYOU personality Dave Kuharchik came off as fun and playful during his emceeing throughout the night.

CASA of Luzerne County, if you don’t know, is a nonprofit child advocacy organization helping the more than 400 foster children in the county have a voice day in and day out. Volunteers help neglected or abused foster children be seen and heard thanks to court-appointed special advocates.

It’s truly a worthy charity.

And judging by the packed house, it’s clear the message is getting out about CASA – whether because of its good works or the eclectic performers who turned out to put on a night of passionate entertainment.

Hosted at Wyoming Seminary’s Kirby Center for the Creative Arts, NEPA Sings honored its first winner Thursday night: 17-year-old Madison Woods, of Kingston, who wowed the audience with her rendition of “Last Dance.”

The judges were impressed too, as she edged out 16-year-old Madison Dompkosky, of Mountain Top, by just half a vote to claim the winning title.

Grateful and humbled, the talented Woods went on to sing “Feeling Good” as the night, which cost audience members $25 at the door, came to a close.

Publisher Mike Murray, Advertising Director Kerry Miscavage and I were spectators and were enthralled with all the contestants, with each bringing their special talents to the forefront.

The judges gushed about being speechless and nearly brought to tears during many moments throughout the night. Judges included accomplished artist Lorenzo Medico, former Broadway performer and New York Jets cheerleader turned professional dancer Lauren Timek, Froggy 101’s Doc Medek and 97.1 BHT’s Kennedy Kai.

For this guy, the music continued into the weekend with the opening of Karl Hall on North Main Street. On the agenda last night were performances by Everything Turned to Color, Rosary Guild and Pittston-based performer Joe Burke.

Since high-school buddy A.J. Jump is the general manager and co-owner at the Hall, I couldn’t miss it.

Named after his friend, Kevin Karl, the venue had a soft opening over the holidays, but last night was the main event, for which Jump and business partner and friend Mary McKenna have been waiting.

The website is up and running at, so take a peek.

I’m looking forward to many magical music nights in Downtown Wilkes-Barre, courtesy of Karl Hall.

I hope you are too.

Mike McGinley is the Times Leader Media Group’s major accounts executive. Reach him at [email protected] or 570-704-3945.

Mike McGinley is the Times Leader Media Group’s major accounts executive. Reach him at [email protected] or 570-704-3945.