By Michael Pineda
Canadian County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) chose a near-perfect night for some songs and suds.
Folks enjoyed a cool breeze as the sun set during Karaoke for CASA.
The event accomplished a dual mission of raising funds and awareness Saturday night at Wild Horse Park in Mustang. Tents and chairs were set up in front of a stage for a night of music, as participants took their turn at the microphone.
“This is our first time trying it and we are hoping tonight goes very well – and, if so, we hope to make it an annual thing,” CASA Executive Director Dana Lutz said.
Lutz attributed the event to board president Dawnetta Moore, who has a background in karaoke and recommended the event.
“She saw another program out of state did it and so she wanted to bring it here and thought it was a good idea,” Lutz said. “She knew a gentleman that runs a karaoke and he agreed to donate his time. She kind of knew how to set it up because she has done karaoke so many times.”
Lutz said all the proceeds from the event went toward CASA, which advocates for children in the custody of the state Department of Human Services.
“All of the children have been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect,” she said. “This goes directly into supporting advocates or volunteers that represent those children.”
Moore has a love for singing. She has sung in choirs with her husband and has participated in TalentQuest, performing at Grand Casino. The original idea was to develop an event that could take place in the park and promote engagement with the community.
“I said, ‘Why not karaoke. Anybody can get up and sing karaoke,’” she said. “And that is how it got developed.”
Moore said she got Chris Shank on board with his karaoke and the event was on its way. Stone Cloud Brewery signed on for the event and donated proceeds to CASA.
There was also a food truck for those who were hungry. Tables and tents were set up near a stage, and cornhole boards provided more entertainment.
“We are here to raise money and to raise awareness,” Moore said. “We want to get out here in the community and let everybody know that there is an organization out there and the purpose of our organization is to help neglected and abused children.
“We have volunteers and this is raising awareness so people will volunteer,” she said. “This is also to raise awareness if they want to become a board member or if they just want to give. A lot of time, people want to do something, but they don’t even know what there is to do.”
Moore pointed out there is a significant need for CASA’s services. Abuse has become a big issue since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We work very closely with the court system,” she said. “Judge Hughey is a great advocate for CASA. When we train volunteers, they are actually appointed by the court.”
Due to it being the first year for the event, Lutz said she was hoping there would be 70 to 75 in attendance. From that number, she hopes Karaoke for CASA will grow in popularity.
Moore said CASA shared the event on social media and she reached out to her karaoke friends. She was also thankful there was no rain.
“We didn’t get rained on and we think we can have it every year,” she said. “The fire department in Mustang donated some tents for us so everybody could be in the shade.”
Other sponsors pitched in to help make the event a success. There were also the singers who took the stage to sing their favorite songs. Lutz got up to provide some information on CASA but opted to leave the singing to others.
“I told her (Moore) I would get up and talk about CASA for a little bit, but my voice is not meant to be heard by anybody other than my shower head,” Lutz said. “I am excited to hear other people sing and I will be the loudest cheerer out here. But my voice is not meant for the stage.”
For more information on CASA volunteer opportunities call (405) 264-5508 or visit www.canadiancountycasa.org.