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The singing county executive: Poloncarz endears himself to seniors with Johnny Cash hits

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz's ticket to re-election might be through his guitar.

He was doing his usual meet-and-greet at the annual 2019 Senior Services Picnic last month when he was goaded by his personnel commissioner into serenading all the attendees. So Poloncarz agreed to get behind the mic and asked Tom Bender, the event's entertainer, if he could borrow his guitar.

"Do you know how to play it?" Bender asked.

Poloncarz not only plays the guitar but played it and sang as part of his law school band, called the Hawks and the Doves.

"We didn’t play that well. We didn’t play that often," Poloncarz said.

After a false start with "Oh! Darling" by The Beatles, he settled on "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash. That was an easy choice since his father was a huge Johnny Cash fan, so he grew up listening to his music.

Though he will never be mistaken for a professional entertainer and acknowledged his singing voice has deteriorated with age, his rendition of "Ring of Fire" was pretty much a hit. In fact, some seniors eagerly jumped up and started clapping.

Poloncarz posted clips of his singing appearance on his Twitter and Facebook accounts, which have been more popular than pretty much anything he's posted in months. While a few panned his singing, wondering if he'd pick up juggling next, Poloncarz said he's since been asked to pull more songs from his repertoire and sing at senior centers and other venues like the Explore & More Children's Museum.

"I do get out to the senior centers," he said, "so I may have to croon for them now."

Here's Poloncarz's Facebook video post of him singing the whole song:


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