New Year’s Eve show going all out

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, December 25, 2010

Paramount Theatre’s New Year’s Eve Party is going all-out this year, bringing in four acts for the price of one.

This Austin tribute show has stars and up-and-coming performers aplenty, as well as one of the finest Buddy Holly tributes around.

“The phone’s ringing,” said Denny Charnecki, the lead singer of Denny and the DC Drifters. “People are hearing about this.”

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Charnecki’s been around the music block. As a teenager, he idolized Buddy Holly and the Crickets, along with all of the classic rock masters of the ‘50s and ‘60s. That’s one of the reasons why his band has performed a Buddy Holly tribute at the legendary Surf Ballroom in Iowa for more than 30 years. Their tribute is even endorsed by Mrs. Holly, something Charnecki takes great pride in.

“It’s got the authenticity and the realism that came from the roots of this music,” Charnecki said.

Although the Drifters have performed at the Serf for a long time during New Year’s Eve, Charnecki said they wanted a change of pace this year, which is why they’re taking their Buddy Holly tribute to the Paramount.

“We’re glad that we’re able to do it in Austin,” Charnecki said. “To be home this New Year’s Eve, I’m glad of that.”

It’s not just the Drifters performing, however. Sean Benz, a high school student from Windom, Minn. will perform his Elvis tribute. Benz, who Charnecki has worked with and mentored in the past, has made a name as a loca country performer who specializes in Johnny Cash tunes. Benz loves the stage and will major in music studies at South Dakota State University once he’s finished high school.

More Charnecki proteges will take the stage on New Year’s Eve as well. The Radio Hits of the ‘60s is a female vocalist group comprised of several local performers, ranging from high school girls to senior citizens.

“They’re good,” Charnecki said. “They’re really, really good.”

There will be several contestants from this year’s Austin’s Got Talent, which was cancelled in October due to scheduling conflicts with several local music organizations. Among the performers will be Amanda Corey, who is a part-time professional singer since participating in the first Austin’s Got Talent contest last year.

Corey has joined the Drifters to perform at venues across the Midwest, along with a couple of solo performances at exotic locations. She recently won a contest amongst Kwik Trip employees to perform at a company retreat. That meant trip to a resort in the Dominican Republic, where she performed in front of 1,500 Kwik Trip employees.

“It was very cool,” Corey, who used to work at a Kwik Trip gas station, said. “It’s a very very neat experince.”

Corey has since become a stay-at-home mom to her two children and sings when she can.

“It’s fun, it’s great,” Corey said. “I wish I could do it more. Not a lot of people get to do what they love to do and get paid for it.”

Paramount Theatre’s New Year’s Eve Party starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door and can be bought at the Paramount Theatre box office or online at All songs will be family friendly, according to Charnecki.

“This is our gift to Austin,” Charnecki said.