I've always admired those who can sing. I love to sing, but I've never been sure if it was a pleasing sound to others or not. Mostly I've never cared, but when I learned about the Karaoke Club in the park, I just had to check it out.
There was a time in my dark past when I did karaoke...one time. It was in Florida while visiting our friends Vern and Lorraine that we found ourselves in a bar with karaoke. Lorraine and I decided to sing a duet and signed up. I then began to pour as much alcohol down my throat as possible and still be able to stand up, looking for some liquid courage.
We got up on stage (barely) and proceeded to belt out our tune of "Stop...in the name of love". Let's just say it was not a pretty sight and our husband's disavowed any knowledge of who we were. I cannot hear that song without cringing to this day. So what the hell was I thinking when I agreed to attend the karaoke club meeting?
I thought it would be a small group of people who would show me how this was done and we'd all sing together and have a good time. Nope. It was like walking into a lounge. The tables were full of people settled in with drinks and snacks, waiting to hear the singers. I had flashbacks of the scene from the Blues Brothers where the patrons started to throw bottles at the band on stage. Every instinct said to run away, but like a moth drawn to the flame that would destroy it, I chose a song and signed up.
Thankfully they had some Patsy Cline numbers that I always thought sounded good while singing in a car ...alone ...with the windows rolled up. So I chose "Crazy" for my first song. It seemed an appropriate choice. While waiting for my turn in the spotlight I watched others who I'm sure must be professional singers in the community. Jeez...this was a stupid idea.
Way too soon I heard my name and tentatively worked my way to the front of the room. Holy crap! What do you do with the microphone? I've never done this, never held one. Then I faced the karaoke screen, waited for the into to my song and tried not to think about it.
Suddenly all the words in the first verse popped up on the screen. Do I start now? The intro is still playing. What do I do! Visions of standing on top of a bridge with a bungee cord attached to one foot and being told to jump flashed in my mind. I knew what to do but not sure when to go, of if I even wanted to anymore. But here we are....all those eyes watching and waiting.
Then the color of the words changed as the song began and I got it. Oh...the color changes when you should sing that particular word. This is better. I opened my mouth and sang the first word, appropriately it was "crazy", and prayed that sound would come out. Would this be like those nightmares where you try to scream but can't make a sound? But I heard someone singing...holy crap...it was me!
Alright, we've started the song...my heart is hammering against my chest and I notice there are no paramedics standing by. I mean, come on...they have them at rodeos and other dangerous events. Not even a defibrillator machine on the wall? I'm working without a net here!
About half way into the song my hands started shaking so bad I could barely maintain a grip on the microphone. Why is this song so long? I don't remember it going on and on like this, are they playing it twice? By now I've lost all touch with reality and the knees are beating out a bongo that doesn't belong with the song at all.
I'm not worried about singing in front of a crowd at all now, nope. I just hope to high heaven I don't wet my pants and totally embarrass myself. Mercifully the song finally winds down to the finish and I spin around and chuck the microphone like it was some kind of poisonous snake.
Is that applause I hear? Maybe it's their sense of relief that this torture is over for them as well. It's the closest I've come to having an out of body experience. Several people tell me it was real nice and I did a good job. Sure, they'll say anything to the fat lady who's face is crimson and on the verge of a panic attack.
After collapsing into my seat and coming to grips with myself I am comforted with knowing I'll never have to do that again. Or so I thought. It seems when you sign up you are on a rotation. Another lady nearby advises me to do it again, it gets better each time. Holy crap.
As ludicrous as it sounds, I picked out another tune. This time it was "Falling to Pieces"...appropriate for this strange evening. I'm sure it sounded any better than the first one, but it did feel a little less life-threatening.
There was time for one more before the night wrapped up and I spotted "Hello Muddah" by Alan Sherman. Finally, a song written by a Jew! A comedy! This I could do...and I did. Not having to do more than a cursory glance at the prompter I was able to make eye contact with the audience and get into hamming it up a bit. I'll inclue a snippet of that song from my childhood here for you to enjoy. Don't worry, it's not me singing!
So I was able to end the night on a high note, so to speak and felt lighthearted as I walked back to the RV. The bad part was being so pumped full of adrenlin that it was 3:00am before I was able to fall asleep. But it was worth it. Now I understand how it works. I know the audience is kind and gentle. And we haven't had a request to leave the park yet this morning, so all is well.
Long Live the Queen of Karaoke