Marc Williams was tickled pink his chance reading of an online article led to his arrival at the Brandon Elks Lodge on Sept. 29, where he sang his rendition of "My Girl" to win the 2013 Brandon Idol concert for one of his favorite places on earth, the Brandon Family YMCA.
- For full coverage of the Brandon Idol contest for adults, and photos, see .
"I saw [the Brandon Idol preview announcement] online at Brandon Patch and just thought I'd come out and sing," Williams, 27, said. "I've been singing since I was little."
He also first started attending the Brandon Family YMCA, on Kingsway Road in Seffner, since he was 7, and that made his participation in the 12th annual fundraiser even more sweeter, since proceeds benefited that very same Y.
"I opened and closed that place when I was little," Williams said. "I used to go there every day. I only stopped going there like three years ago. I played basketball, ping pong, went swimming there."
He also played the piano there, said Williams, who works now as a security guard in Brandon.
And he would sing there.
"Music, it influences you in so many ways," Williams said. "It makes you happy, it makes you sad, it inspires you. It's so beautiful."
Williams said he was adopted and that his mother who raised him encouraged him to pursue his natural gift.
"She just encouraged me to follow my dream," said Williams, a popular performer at Greater Brandon area karaoke nights, at such places as the Oaks Bar & Grill, the Hi-Life Bar & Grill, Barnacles and O'Toole's.
With Williams on stage for his encore performance at the Brandon Elks Lodge was Luis Quixtan, playing the saxophone. The two met, Quixtan said, when he used to arrange for karaoke nights at the now closed Sips News Cafe next door to AMC The Regency 20 at the Grand Regency shopping center.
Also in attendance was friend Chris Nowinski, who knows well the talents of both men.
"I came up with the idea that we should go to Clearwater Beach" and have them perform there, Nowinski said. "We found a plug to plug into and the crowds gathered around."
Diana Niles, development director of the Brandon Family YMCA, said she was surprised to see Williams show up for the contest. She has seen him many times before at the Brandon Family YMCA, where George Sorensen is the executive director.
Money raised at Brandon Idol will help provide children's programming at the Brandon Family YMCA, Sorensen said.
"It's a great event, it has 12 years of history behind it," he added. "The Y is blessed to be the charity of choice two years in a row."
Count Williams among the newest fans of Brandon Idol.
“It’s very well organized, the stage and sound equipment were beautiful and everybody’s so friendly and really nice," he said. "I want to do it again. I want another [Brandon Idol contest] next week.”