Lake Norman & Mooresville

Local crooner has a shot at Vegas-style show

We all have our dreams. We may dream to buy the perfect house with the picket fence, to publish a book, to be a concert pianist, or to be a pro ball player. We think about our dream every day and we plan how we will accomplish it.

Dreams are no stranger to Charles Domiter. At age 74, his dream has never wavered. He has always wanted to entertain others and he has done that for most of his life.

Now he has a chance at his big dream. He is waiting to see if he will be chosen to join a Las Vegas-style show, the 21st annual Palm Springs Follies. If chosen, he will practice in August and then go to California to perform nine shows per week for a six-month run, from October 2011 through May 2012. The Follies is comprised of older-aged entertainers who still perform.

Charles Domiter sings. Close your eyes and just listen when he sings and you will think you are back in the golden age of American music. It sounds as if Frank Sinatra is crooning his best, but in reality, it's Charles Domiter singing.

Domiter grew up in Bethlehem, Pa., an Austrian-Hungarian boy who liked to sing and dance. In 1955, in high school, he was listed as the class dancer, specializing in the waltz and the polka.

After high school, he sang on Dick Clark's American Bandstand program from Philadelphia. He also sang on the Saturday night WFIL Talent Show with Al Alberts, the lead singer for the Four Aces vocal group.

Then the Marine Corps called and took him away for several years. He married and had two children, a son and a daughter.

After service he returned to Bethlehem and followed his dad into Bethlehem Steel Mill, where he worked in the drafting department as a technical assistant in the international market. He gained the equivalent of a college degree, then put in six years in the research and development group. His dreams continued, and at night and on weekends he sang in local bistros and roadhouses.

His children grew and both went to California to college. Soon, Domiter and his wife joined them on the west coast.

He found the Lawrence Welk Resort in Escondido, Calif., and sang in the lounge on Friday nights and in the ballroom on Saturday nights. During the days, he worked security at the resort's gates. This is where he met Jim Wright, who would become his mentor.

Wright had retired from sound production at Paramount Studios. He had worked with both Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. "He did the comeback CD for Sinatra. Wright praised me as being very close to the actual sound of Sinatra," said Domiter. They worked together and produced two CDs of Domiter's work, singing Sinatra.

Eventually, the family retired to North Carolina, settling in Huntersville. After 49 years of marriage, Domiter and his wife separated, but never divorced. Domiter took a course through Hospice and volunteers with St. Mark's Catholic Church. He loves using his songs to make others happy.

He spends lots of his time singing to the seniors at many locations including the Levine Center in Charlotte, the Pines in Davidson, the Oaks in Huntersville, Shad's Landings at various sites, Summit and Churchill memory care units in Mooresville, as well as various sites in Gastonia and Avante in Concord.

Not all of his performances are to the seniors in their various retirement centers. He has also performed for the Belk Store Wedding Day Events and for Dillard's special by-invitation evenings. He has also performed at the Mooresville Senior Center's opening to Older Americans Month in May and for the center's Christmas luncheon this past December.

"What can I do to make someone else's life easier? It's all about love, and God is love. Give it away, and you get it back," says Domiter. "I want to be a grain of sand and contribute. I don't want to be a star in the sky."