Vocalist Darla Z performs benefit show for OCU's Kramer School of Nursing 

Darla Z
benefit show for Oklahoma City University's Kramer School of Nursing
7:30 p.m. Friday
Petree Auditorium in the Wanda L. Bass School of Music
2501 N. Blackwelder
$35
408-3599, www.okcu.edu/concert

Music has always been apart of Darla Zuhdi's life. She just waited longer than most to pursue it as a career.

Zuhdi, who goes by the stage name Darla Z, has worked in the music industry for more than 20 years, promoting concerts with her husband since the mid-'80s. But it wasn't until 2005 that she gave performing onstage a try, despite having been a singer as long as she could remember.

"I was in voice lessons and church choirs since I was a little child," she said. "I used to sing with my mother at woman's clubs. We always made people cry, and I'm really not sure why. They either loved us or hated us."

Zuhdi was shy enough to decline an offer by her husband to open for Merle Haggard, but audiences still adored her voice. Her first public show was opening for Willie Nelson. She said she was singing along to a song in a restaurant when Nelson's manager heard her voice, and invited her to perform.

She agreed and has been performing ever since, with the likes of Wayne Newton and Tony Orlando in Las Vegas. In her brief career, she has recorded an album, appeared on radio shows and performed on Dennis Bono's Vegas show to a sold-out audience.

"My love has always been music," Zuhdi said. "It finally hit. It just jived. Sure, it came a little further along than it does for most performers, but I am having the time of my life."

Darla Z will perform songs from the '30s, '40s and '50s at a benefit show for Oklahoma City University's Kramer School of Nursing, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Petree Auditorium in the Wanda L. Bass School of Music, 2501 N. Blackwelder. Tickets are $35. For more information, call 408-3599 or visit www.okcu.edu/concert. "Joshua Boydston

photo Vocalist Darla Z has performed with Willie Nelson and Wayne Newton

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Joshua Boydston

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