Lip-sync contest to raise money for Schwartz Center

The Philadelphia-based band Crazy in Stereo will perform at an after party for the first Battle of the Schwartz Feb. 11. (Submitted photo)

The battle is on to help keep the Schwartz Center for the Arts a thriving entertainment destination in Dover.

The first Battle of the Schwartz Lip Sync Contest will be held Feb. 11 at the State Street venue.

Seven prominent local business people will compete for the belt awarded to the best lip sync performer in the land.

Although the action will be hot on stage, the real battle will be getting tickets. Only a handful were left as of Wednesday night, with all of the VIP tickets snapped up.

“I’ve been happily surprised by the response,” said event organizer Katie Kramedas.

“It’s Valentine’s Day weekend and I think people are always searching for something to do that time of year. I wasn’t surprised by the interest in it but I’ve been surprised by how quickly and how willingly people have jumped on the bandwagon.”

The group of competitors that she has gathered come from a wide array of backgrounds.

They are Brian Cusick, an engineer with Becker Morgan Group; Jenny Mabus, a real estate agent with The Moving Experience and co-owner of Bayard Pharmacy in Dover; John Ghanayem of New Penn Financial in Dover; Kenny Roach, a teacher at William Henry Middle School, who will be paired with Gary Payne, a former Dover resident now living in Washington; staff members from The Little School at Kids Cottage in Dover; Donna Shane, a hair stylist at Hello Gorgeous in Camden; and Dr. Kenny Vu, a family physician in Dover.

As well as putting on their best show for the audience, each act was charged with fundraising for the event, with a minimum of $5,000 raised through different levels of sponsorship.

The goal for the night is $50,000 but Ms. Kramedas says she is “pretty confident” more will be raised.

“Through ticket sales and a cash bar and a few other things, we should pass that pretty easily,” she said.

The evening will start with a VIP reception from 6 to 7 p.m. with food from local restaurants, followed by the show, which should last two hours. An after-party will be held with Valentine’s-themed desserts, pizza and popcorn and then a party with Philadelphia-based band Crazy in Stereo will fill the Schwartz from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

A signature cocktail with a reusable Mason jar, will be available for $20 and a photo booth from Spin Jocs will also be on site.

A side benefit of the night will be its ability to showcase local businesses.

“I wanted to give area restaurants an opportunity to highlight themselves. For instance, I wanted some of the little bakers in the area to come to the event, put out their brochures and show off what they have to offer,” Ms. Kramedas said.

“I’d love to use this as business networking platform as well.”

As far as the show itself, each act has between two and five minutes to perform in front of a panel of judges, which will include local musician Jim Rezac; Dover Police Department Cpl. Jeff Davis, known for his viral “Shake It Off” video; and a third member from WBOC-TV.

The show will be hosted by Ms. Kramedas and Cpl. Demetrius Stevenson, the resource officer at Dover High School, who was featured in another viral video with Cpl. Davis.

Like in the hit TV show, “Lip Sync Battle,” a personalized belt will be awarded to the winners. Two other awards will be given that night — one for People’s Choice and another to the act that raised the most money.

“Some of these guys far surpassed their goal and in some cases, doubled and tripled the amount. So we wanted to recognize that effort,” Ms. Kramedas said.

With only a few months to put this together, Ms. Kramedas, who was co-chair of last year’s Southern Delaware Heart Ball in Dover with her husband Tom, said the effort has been like having a baby.

“I’ve nurtured it, watched it grow. It’s kept me up. It wakes me up in the middle of the night, wondering if I forgot to do this or that, she said.

A “one-woman band” in the beginning, Ms. Kramedas she has since gotten a great deal of help from committee members Andrea Vu, Serena Ryan, Megan Garrison, Jessica Moyer and Tonda Parks.

Ms. Moyer, a professional dancer, has choreographed a few of the numbers and consulted with the other competitors. She will also serve as stage manager the night of the show. This is on top of her competing in Saturday’s “Dancing with the Delaware Stars” at Dover Downs.

Like “Dancing with the Delaware Stars,” Ms. Kramedas foresees “The Battle of the Schwartz” being an annual competition.

“I have no idea where it’s going to go but I would like to keep it going ever year and have it be the same weekend so people can say ‘lip sync weekend’ is coming up,” she said.

Although it’s been a huge undertaking in its first year, Ms Kramedas said the cause is an important one.

“I grew up in the theater my entire life,” said the Baltimore native.

“When I realized (the Schwartz) was in need of financial support, it prompted me to help in any way I could. I have three young boys and we love to attend the Schwartz at least once a month, whether it’s a movie or a show, and I wanted them to see how important the theater is not only to their cognitive development but to the community as a whole.”

To check ticket availability, visit or call 678-5152.

Stars coming out

Speaking of “Dancing with the Delaware Stars,” the eighth annual event is indeed Saturday at Dover Downs’ Rollins Center.

The big event benefits Mom’s House of Dover and Boys & Girls Club of Delaware. VIP tickets are sold out but event tickets are still available.

Nine couples will compete for the coveted mirror ball trophy this year.

Event tickets to the black-tie optional event are $60 and include a reception starting at 7:30 with light hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and 10 votes. At 8:15, the dance competition begins followed by a dance party, with the winners announced at approximately 10:30 p.m.

For the first year, an after-party will be held in Dover Downs’ Diamond Room from 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Tickets for that event are $25 in advance or $35 at the door.

For tickets and more information, visit

Firefly lineup out today

As we told you earlier this week, today is the big day for Firefly Music Festival fans. The lineup for this year’s event will be released at 10 a.m. with tickets going on sale at 1 p.m.

Five of the more than 100 artists expected to play Firefly this year were revealed Sunday to be soul/dance quintet MisterWives, Philadelphia rapper Lil Dicky, English indie rock band Glass Animals, Swedish electronic dance group Galantis and American pop duo Capital Cities.

This is on top of previously announced acts electronic rock duo Phantogram and hip-hop artist Busta Rhymes.

The Firefly Music Festival will hit the Woodlands of Dover International Speedway June 15-18. Check for the full lineup as soon as it is released.

Beatles break

Fans of The Beatles will want to be at the Dover Public Library tonight for a mocktail party and a showing of the documentary “Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years.”

At 5:30, mocktails and hors d’oevres will be served while guests can groove to Hoochi Coochi, a Dover band, who

The Dover musical duo Hoochi Coochi will perform the music of The Beatles at the Dover Public Library Friday evening. (Submitted photo)

will perform Beatles songs.

Then at 6:30 p.m., previously unseen footage helps show the delights and strains The Beatles faced in order to promote their music with live concerts in an era where a group of their popularity was a new thing and no one had ever produced a concert as large as Beatles’ fans demanded or with so many screaming girls.

The film with a restored soundtrack, directed by Ron Howard, details the rigors of Beatles’ tours and live performances from 1962 to 1966, showing why they eventually discontinued live performances to concentrate on studio work.

The one-hour, 45-minute film is not rated and both events are free. Dover Public Library is at 35 E. Loockerman St.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is the supernatural “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter 3D,” the fantasy film “A Dog’s Purpose” and Matthew McConaughey in the drama “Gold.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is “Boo! A Madea Halloween,” Tom Cruise in “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” and Zach Galifinakis and Kristen Wiig in the comedy “Masterminds.”

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