Engelbert Humperdinck thrills Packard crowd

WARREN – When Marion “June” Rausch of Vienna heard iconic crooner Engelbert Humperdinck was coming to Warren, she saw it is an opportunity to relive a thrilling moment nearly three decades old.

In 1986, Rausch saw Humperdinck at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where she was brought on stage and serenaded for five songs.

“It was a thrill because he carried on while I was on stage,” the 87-year-old Rausch said. “We had a lot of fun. I’m a big fan going way back.”

Friday night, Rausch was one of hundreds on hand at the Packard Music Hall to greet Humperdinck, who responded by belting out his hits.

Although she had seen him perform one time since the 1986 encounter, Rausch said it was exciting to have him in Trumbull County.

“Last year, I saw him in California,” Rausch said. “I got to go backstage and talk to him and everything. He remembered me from that first show.

“It’s great to have him here.”

Others were clamoring to catch their first glimpse of Humperdinck in the flesh after following his career for decades.

Kathey Coates of Hubbard was blunt when it came to her favorite aspect of Humperdinck’s career.

“His looks,” Coates laughed. “When I was 18, anyway. I haven’t seen him (on TV) in a long time and never live.”

Humperdinck still averages about 100 shows a year, including the concert Friday at Packard Music Hall. The performance included hits like “Release Me (And Let Me Love Again),” a top five hit in the United States in 1967, along with others, such as “There Goes My Everything,” “Am I That Easy to Forget” and “After the Lovin.”’

Youngstown resident Janis Kuzsko said the concert was a good opportunity for those in her generation to get together and have a good time.

“We just wanted to reminisce with his music,” Kuzsko said. “I’m in that age group, so it’s a lot of fun.”