Landau Surprises High School Grads with Commencement Speech, Impromptu Performance
For the graduating seniors and their family and friends gathered Friday night May 13th at Mingo Central High School, their graduation ceremony was already a night to remember. But a surprise appearance by West Virginia’s favorite crooner Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. made it a night they’ll never forget.
As the dozens of grads squirmed in their seats, Murphy was kept hidden behind the stage in a classroom. When Mingo Central Choral Director Sarah McVaney began singing the classic “That’s Life,” graduation attendees assumed it was part of the evening’s program. But as Landau casually strolled out onto the stage to join her, the gymnasium erupted into shrieks of excitement and thunderous applause. Landau followed with a second song, the Paul Anka-penned classic “My Way” and then briefly addressed the students from the podium. Once the students walked across the stage after receiving their diploma, Landau moved their ceremonial cap tassel from right to left. After the ceremony, Landau stuck around to take selfies with each and every senior who asked.
After the ceremony, Landau said, “It was an incredible honor just to be asked to be a part of these young people’s graduation. I didn’t want to take anything away from them; this was their day. I was just happy to be there to support them, and thank their teachers and parents for supporting them, because it doesn’t matter where you’re from, you can go out there in this world and if you work hard enough and dream big enough, you can do anything.”
Mingo Central counselor Tish Marcum was still in awe days later. “WOW! It was incredible,” said Marcum. “Landau is such a humble soul, and interesting person. The students were VERY surprised, as well as the entire crowd. This was a graduation that I don’t know if I can ever top.”