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Secretary at Newark Beth Israel Medical Shines as a Back-up Singer for American Idol

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Secretary at Newark Beth Israel Medical Shines as a Back-up Singer for American Idol
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The highlight of a prestigious singing career culminated in an appearance on "American Idol" for Kim Armstrong, a lifelong performer and departmental secretary in the Sleep Disorders Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC). Ms. Armstrong accompanied world-renowned singer Joss Stone and famed guitarist Jeff Beck as part of the charity section of the show, "American Idol Gives Back," on Wednesday, April 21 in Los Angeles live from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

This year, "Idol Gives Back" featured performances by some of Hollywood's biggest stars, including Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, and The Black Eyed Peas, and has raised over $140 million for charity to date. Dressed all in black with a string of pearls, Ms. Armstrong delivered a rousing rendition of "I Put a Spell on You."

"I am just so honored to have performed at American Idol," says Ms. Armstrong, who added that both of the famous performers she accompanied were very warm and friendly to her. "I count it as such a blessing. So many people wish they could have stood in my shoes, so I am grateful for the opportunity.'

Ms. Armstrong, a Newark resident, began singing at age five and grew into her rich alto voice. She has performed around the world as part of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) Jubilation Choir including tours in Japan and Russia. Rev. Stefanie R. Minatee & The Jubilation Choir, which performs a range of music, including hymns, spirituals, anthems, and gospel numbers, won a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Gospel Album, and was nominated for the Dove Award for Best Traditional Gospel Song for singing with Queen Latifah on the compilation CD, "Oh Happy Day."

Ms. Armstrong became acquainted with Queen Latifah as a result of her friendship with her mother, who is also a member of The Jubilation Choir. She has performed with Queen Latifah, Kenny Loggins at the Count Basie Theater, as well as opening for Gladys Knight at the Panasonic Corporation in New Jersey. It has been an exciting dual career for Mrs. Armstrong, who through it all has worked as a departmental secretary in several areas of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center for 23 years. Currently she works in The Sleep Disorders Center, the oldest sleep center in New Jersey treated more than 1,200 patients annually.

"I love both of my careers and Newark Beth has always supported me both inside and outside the hospital, allowing me to succeed in both," she relates. Her band, "Total Remix," performs at Newark Beth's annual spring picnic, as well as locally throughout New Jersey, New York and the West Indies. Her love of singing began at age five and she grew up in a house filled with music. Ms. Armstrong mother was a classical singer who performed opera, and her father a professional recording artist, played with a Latin band as a singer and on the congas. Her brother also performs, rounding out this musical family.

She greatly enjoys touring around the state in the Jubilation Choir. Established in October 1998 at NJPAC, Jubilation has members who hail from 28 townships throughout the state. Ms. Armstrong is one of a select group of singers in Jubilation who perform at private corporate events and small group affairs. She performed as part of a small group on Chef Emeril Lagasse's Christmas Special.

In addition to her famous voice, the secret to her success has been little need for sleep and an outgoing personality. She counts, "The Way We Were" as her favorite song and looks forward to future performances "with gratitude."

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