He’s a singer, a dancer and entertainer.
And Charles Domiter, 75, of Huntersville, said he’s thankful to be able to share his talents.
Domiter brings his act – featuring Rat Park-era songs and Gene Kelly-esque tap dancing – to area civic groups, senior living residences, malls and churches around Lake Norman.
Domiter was born and raised in Bethlehem, Pa. and said he knew at a young age he loved performing. “Everybody has a talent, if we don’t use it, what good is it? We’ve got to plug it in,” Domiter said. “I love music and have a passion for it.”
He was named “Class Dancer” at his high school and would regularly go to Philadelphia to dance on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand.” Domiter then joined the Marines, and, following his service, returned to his hometown as an engineer at Bethlehem Steel. “I worked two jobs all my life; you have to earn a dollar. Some things got put on the back burner, but I always sang at bistros and road houses.”
When Bethlehem Steel closed in the mid-90s, Domiter said, he moved to California to be near his two children. He worked security at a country club and retirement community where he met Jim Wright, the retired head of sound production from Paramount Pictures. Wright heard Domiter sing and told him he truly had talent.
“He worked with Sinatra, Elvis Presley, all the stars. … He said ‘You’re not too far from Frank, you can do this.’ It was such a thrill I could have walked on water,” Domiter said.
“It made me feel very good about myself, we all need that kind of reinforcement. It happened to be late in life but it gave me an opportunity.”
Domiter said he was able to sing in the lounge and ballroom of the Lawrence Welk Resort before he moved to Lake Norman – his grandsons live near Kannapolis – in 2004.
Now, Domiter said, he performs about three times a month at different venues. Bailey’s Glen Lifestyle Director Lisa Venancio said Domiter was an obvious choice for entertainment at a recent meet-and-greet event in the active adult community. “He’s got the personality that he’s never met a stranger,” she said, noting she met him at the local YMCA.
“This is the ideal arena to showcase his talent. He just loves to perform.”
During his performance at Bailey’s Glen, Domiter donned a fedora and twirled an umbrella during his rendition of “Singin’ in the Rain,” sang Sinatra’s “Almost Like Being in Love” and the self-taught tap dancer – he picked it up after he moved to Huntersville – showed off his steps to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”
“I wanted to add something different besides just being a crooner,” Domiter said of the addition to his act. “I picked up a pair of taps in Charlotte, started working out in my garage, I tried it out one night and it was a hit.”
Zeb Duzan is the manager of Dillards at Northlake Mall. He said Domiter performs in the store every couple of months. “He does a really good job of drawing a crowd, getting kids involved, dancing with the ladies,” Duzan said. “His energy is amazing, he can perform for five to six hours straight. He really gets into it, it’s pretty fun.”
Domiter also performs at the Dillards at Carolina Place Mall in Pineville and recently met with the manger of the South Park Dillards, where he hopes to start performing.
But he said some of his favorite places to perform are senior homes. “I’m so old I don’t buy green bananas,” he said with a laugh. “My gig is for my peer group, I’m so happy I can do this yet,” he said. “I’m thrilled to be able to serve a lot of people in assisted living and memory care.”
In May, Domiter said he plans to audition again for “The Fabulous Palm Springs Follies,” the Broadway-style show comprised of senior performers in California.
“These are really, really talented people. It’s quite a show,” Domiter said. He auditioned last year but said the one open position was for a female performer. “I’m going to give it another shot, because it’s a passion.”
If he makes the cut, Domiter said, he would return to the West Coast to perform in roughly six shows per week for almost a year. His daughter still lives near Los Angeles.
“Maybe God will give me that opportunity.”
Trenda: 704-358-5089; Twitter @htrenda
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