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He's been singing his heart out for a long time, but this time, Reginald Stacy has really hit a high note.
Stacy, who won the karaoke contest at the Levy County Fair this past year and was runner up the year before, has been entertaining lovers of soul, gospel, pop and country music for years.
But Saturday, he won the grand prize at Karaoke for the Cure in Alachua, taking away an estimated $4,000 in cash and prizes, including 24 hours of recording time at Big Mama's Recording Studio in Seymour, Tenn. He also received $500 in cash and a set of karaoke cds with 450 tracks of the hottest current songs.
Stacy, who lost an aunt and a cousin to breast cancer when he was finishing high school in Bronson, said he thought of his family while he was singing his contest selections, Prince's “Purple Rain” and Ray Charles' “Georgia On My Mind.”
“I was going to sing 'Wind Beneath My Wings,' you know, because of the occasion, but I started to think I could do a better job with another song,” he said.
Among the 30 contestants in Saturday's show were at least two performers he'd sung against before, part of a very strong field of singers.
“When I heard people sing, I didn't know how I was going to compete with them,” said Stacy.
He was picked to sing 14th and had time to scout the competition.
His mother, who accompanied him, said she thought the Ray Charles song showed his range better.
“That was when I decided to change, and I'm so glad I did,” he said.
But Stacy's showstopper has always been “Purple Rain”, and Saturday was no different.
“When they held up my “Purple Rain” sign at the end of the song, the crowd went crazy,” he said.
“I couldn't believe how much they liked me.”
They liked him so much, in fact, that at an after party at Newberry's Backyard Barbecue, Stacy was greeted with cheers and chants of his name.
They made him sing “Purple Rain” again, and then someone in the audience made a $5 donation to get him to sing Willie Nelson's “Always on my Mind.”
That made him think some more about his departed aunt, Lavon Jenkins, and cousin, Mary Helen Stacy.
“I'm glad they have events like this, where we can entertain people and help raise money to fight cancer and take care of the people who have it,” Stacy said.
Last year's Karaoke for the Cure donated about $1,000 to Lyrics for Life and an area pediatric cancer center.
Organizer Randy Highsmith, owner of StarSound Karaoke, said he hoped for a similar outcome from this year's event.
Stacy has a long history of involvement in charitable events in the area, and is hoping to put together a benefit concert to help Levy County schoolchildren.