No one could ever call me an early adopter and nowhere is this more true than in respect to karaoke — a recreational activity which probably peaked in excitement about 20+ years ago.
But when Greg and I heard about Karaoke Night at the local community centre, we felt we had to go to this our first karaoke night. Doing karaoke — or is it singing along to karaoke — wasn't exactly on my bucket list, but then, I like adding things to a list after I've done them just for the joy of crossing them off.
We had a little nap after dinner and then set out on the five-minute drive to the Fortune Community Centre, site of bingo, trivial pursuit nights, wedding receptions, Michael Smith’s Fund-Raising Night, and now, for the first time, karaoke.
|From the web-site http://www.fortunecommunitycentre.com|
We arrived on time, for once. And for once, we didn’t need to have worried about being prompt. There were a couple of attendees smoking outside with whom we exchanged hellos. Inside, the DJ had all the equipment set up; the bar was open; I ordered a Keith’s; Greg got an Alpine, and we surveyed the mostly empty room. A couple of tables over, there were six other attendees poring over the karaoke book listing the music, but that was about it.
Later one of the organizers explained that people just don’t come out to things early in the evening (it was about 10:30 by this time). He recalled a dance held earlier this year. The band cost a lot of money, and at midnight, there were only three people there. At 12:15 a.m., another 75 suddenly arrived — to his enormous relief. The dances around here “start” at 10:00 p.m. and end at 2:00 a.m. Local customs can sometimes be a bit puzzling to people like us “from away.”
Be that as it may, I did learn a few more things that night.
First of all, you don’t start singing until the words on the screen turn green.
Also, it is a good idea to have some familiarity with how the words fit the tune before you choose a song. And it should go without saying that you should have a pretty firm handle on that tune. Just because I like Time after Time didn’t mean I should have chosen it. Cyndi Lauper packed way more words into that song than I remembered. And they (and I) turned green in an awful hurry.
You can hear for yourself what I was up against lyrics-wise:
I did much better with Somewhere over the Rainbow. I even held the long note at the end without going flat. The DJ remarked positively to me about my interpretation. Wow! I acknowledged the applause from the audience with a small self-deprecating bow.
Then I realized I had received almost as much applause when I bombed as when I did better. Admittedly, it was kind of like singing in a nursing home. In a long-term care facility, people are listening, but they can’t all hear. At karaoke, they were hearing but, because they were busy leafing through the song book and writing down the titles they were going to perform, they were not really listening. Nevertheless, whenever anyone finished, the handful of people in the audience paused and heartily applauded.
This held an important lesson for me. It’s good to get up and sing in front of an audience just for the heck of it no matter how it goes. In life, sometimes you should just get up for fun and thank your lucky stars you are in a group of people who applaud you for doing just that, even when the results are not the greatest.
It’s nice not to be judged and likely found wanting. Having people applaud even a feeble attempt gives you the confidence that you can do better the next time.
Also, you are inclined to return the favour and give others hearty applause too. To me, that greases the social machinery in a very nice way.
I was chatting with the organist at church the next day and mentioned my adventures the night before. He nodded and said that people around here are always very supportive of one another. I like that.
So much so that I’m looking forward to the next karaoke evening. I may sing Elvis Presley’s Teddy Bear, a featured song of the Ausable Singers, a seniors' choir in which I am an alto. I shall have to master the soprano part, however.
On a different inspirational note, B.B. King’s Stand by Me comes to mind as well. It has a catchy tune but relatively few words.
I noticed both pieces were both in the DJ’s book, and I can practise them ahead of time via YouTube: