Kevin R. Minkoff takes top spot in East County talent show
by: Contributed photos by Joshua Luna of Gradient Productions MC Greg Matthews showing off all the contestants.

Now that's he's $500 richer, Kevin R. Minkoff, 52, has to choose - iPad or more tap lessons?

To the outside observer, the choice seems clear - it's Minkoff's soft shoes and singing that won him the top spot in the May 20 'East County's Got Talent' show at East Hill Church.

Minkoff took first place, besting a field of 14 other groups and soloists and taking home five Benjamins for his efforts.

About 625 people saw the second annual competition, presented by Riverview Community Bank and sponsored by the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce.

An amateur singer and actor who hails from Northern California, Minkoff has lived in the Portland area for 15 years and has acted in more than 40 productions since his 20s. He's also a veteran barbershop quartet performer.

A certified public accountant by day, Minkoff is a performer by night, when he gets the chance.

'The best natural high is performing,' Minkoff says, noting it runs in his family, as his stepdaughter, Aubry Fisher, has appeared on such reality TV shows as 'Rock of Love 2' and 'L.A. Ink.'

He laughs when asked what his stepdaughter thought of his victory.

'Aubrey was saying, 'What's next?' ' he says, noting in the world of Hollywood, winning a talent show means record contracts and other stepping-stone goodies.

'I'm on my way to Chinook Winds,' he adds with a chuckle, referring to the Lincoln City casino.

Like Ol' Blue Eyes

Minkoff says he took a page from Frank Sinatra's singing style when he sang the Cole Porter hit 'Night and Day.'

'I really like the upbeat jazziness of it,' he says, adding he dusted off his tap shoes to add a little spice to his act.

'I wanted to kind of turn it into a performance rather than just stand there and do it like a karaoke,' he says.

Apparently, the audience loved it, according to Michelle Higgins, a volunteer with the chamber, who saw Minkoff's victorious turn on stage.

'He was great with his soft shoe along with his vocals,' she says. 'He captured the audience.'

Stephanie Kralevich, meteorologist/reporter at KPTV, was one of three judges for the contest, and says Minkoff 'really knocked our socks off' with his act.

'East County's Got Talent had so many great acts, I was truly wowed by all of them,' she adds.

Higgins notes that Yesterday's Country, a musical group, took second place.

'They've only been playing together two months and brought the house down,' Higgins says.

She adds that a highlight of the evening was an impromptu duet by Rep. Greg Matthews, D-Gresham, and Mayor Shane Bemis, singing the Jerry Lee Lewis hit 'Greats Balls of Fire.'

So should the two politicos give up public policy making for a whole lotta shakin'?

'They should quit their day jobs,' Higgins says with a laugh.

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