News Column

Time for 'World's Worst Irish Tenor'

March 13, 2012

Frederick Melo

Where does an Irishman or Irishwoman with no chance at all of ever winning a singing competition go to show off a lack of chops?

The answer, of course, is the "World's Worst Irish Tenor" competition, held annually at Mancini's Char House & Lounge in St. Paul, Minn., for the past 30 years, and elsewhere before that.

The "singing" competition takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 14. And no, you don't have to be Irish to win. "People come out of the woodwork," said Glen Olson, master of ceremonies for the past 38 years. "Others have won. The worst singer was a Swede -- Benny Jensen. He won it for about 15 years because he was so bad."

Olson calls himself the "Happy Hooker," because he gets to hook singers off the stage if they're too talented.

Music -- real music -- will be provided by the Gallivanters, an Irish folk group that formed 50 years ago in downtown St. Paul.

Other invitees include such St. Patrick's Day Parade staples as the Winter Carnival Royalty, Klondike Kate, Mr. Pat and the Honorary Irishmen. The parade starts at noon Saturday in St. Paul.

A full events listing for the week is available online from the St. Patrick's Association at

Source: (c) 2012 the Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.)

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