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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

ICs Sing for CFC at Karaoke Contest

Four people wearing black Beatles'style wigs sing on stage

The Building Wonderfuls, led by NIH director Dr. Francis Collins (l), sings “With a Little Help from My Friends.”

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Gibbons wearing captain's hat peers through binoculars and holds up a glass paperweight as Dunbar sings

The Titanic captain spots an iceberg! NHLBI Heartthrobs (a.k.a. NHLBI director Dr. Gary Gibbons and senior investigator Dr. Cynthia Dunbar) won the hearts of the audience and judges with their comic timing and karaoke performance.

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Steele raises trophy above his head.

CIT’s Tyrone Steele poses with his trophy for winning the 2019 CFC Directors’ Challenge.

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Five people, four wearing ship captain's hats and one wearing a shark costume, sing on stage.

Team NIDA Notes, led by director Dr. Nora Volkow (c), performs “Baby Shark,™” the anthem that propelled the Washington Nationals to a World Series title.

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

On stage, one woman plays tambourine, another claps, beside a man clapping.

The Paper Pushers from NCI perform “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Five people wearing black suits with white shirts sing at the microphones

The Ocular Dominance team from NEI was led by acting director Dr. Santa Tumminia (l) in a rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.”

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Man in ship captain's hat mimics a masthead as woman with Titanic sign sings with mic.

Their hearts will go on? CFC karaoke draws out the love and hidden talents.

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Three people sit behind a table watching the show's emcee

Celebrity judges listen to emcee John Burklow (r). They are (from l) NIH principal deputy director Dr. Lawrence Tabak, ORS Director Colleen McGowan and NIH deputy director for management Dr. Alfred Johnson.

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

It may not have been famed local nightclub the Birchmere, but there was formidable talent and an enthusiastic crowd at NIH’s first-ever karaoke competition on Nov. 14. The event was this year’s Directors’ Challenge in support of the Combined Federal Campaign.

First up were the Building Wonderfuls, led by NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, singing the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends.” Among other notable performances were NHLBI senior investigator Dr. Cynthia Dunbar singing “My Heart Will Go On” from the Titanic soundtrack, with NHLBI director Dr. Gary Gibbons re-enacting key scenes from the popular motion picture. 

CIT’s Tyrone Steele brought down the house singing Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey,” drawing perfect 10s from a panel of “celebrity judges” to clinch first place.

“Someone needs to give up his day job!” said Colleen McGowan, director of the Office of Research Services. She served as one of the judges, along with Dr. Lawrence Tabak, NIH principal deputy director, and Dr. Alfred Johnson, NIH deputy director for management. 

Runner-up was NEI, with Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” while NCI took third place singing Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” 

The event was emceed with grace and humor by John Burklow, NIH associate director for communications and public liaison.

The Directors’ Challenge is held each year in support of the CFC, the federal government’s workplace giving drive that helps staff donate to their favorite causes from among more than 6,000 participating not-for-profit organizations. More information and the donation portal are at—Amishi Shah 

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