A few hours after I volunteered on an impulse to write about “the karaoke experience,” I began to regret my decision. I cannot sing, and I definitely will not sing alone. But after coming to terms with the fact that reassigning the article was not an option, I knew what I had to do. If I was going to embarrass myself, I was going to take down as many people as possible with me.
I assumed it would be difficult to get one of my entrymates to come sing karaoke with me. After all, karaoke is essentially code for public humiliation, at least for most of us. Surprisingly, this was not the case. The minute I mentioned my intention to sing karaoke, I had multiple people volunteer to come sing with me, including Sophie Chatas ’16, Katherine Shamsie ’16 and Jackie Lane ’16. My friends who did not want to sing told me they would come “support me.” Of course, I knew this just meant they wanted to come see me embarrass myself, but I figured I’d rather embarrass myself in front of friends than in front of strangers.
We spent the next couple of days tossing around ideas for our singing debut at the College. I suggested wacky costumes to distract from the horror of our voices, but this idea was quickly shot down. We began to peruse our iTunes libraries, looking for the perfect song. We proposed various numbers and tried them out throughout the halls of Sage C, unintentionally providing the Junior Advisor (JA) next door, Jake Butts ’14, with some very interesting shower tunes.
Everything seemed to be going well until the unthinkable happened. As Friday night’s No Shame Karaoke, hosted by Active Minds and Williams After Dark, approached, it seemed that my friends were backing out on me. One no longer wanted to sing; others said they had too much work. I was in a frenzy. As I stated before, I would not sing alone.
Luckily, in the end, it didn’t come down to me having to sing solo. I sent out a group text to the entry begging people to come with me, and when the time arrived to leave the comforts of Sage C for Paresky, plenty of my entrymates showed up, and those who had previously backed out of singing apparently couldn’t resist the call to duty.
So we left Sage C with our entry sign as well as our entry mascot, Tina the Bear, and made our way to the lower level of Paresky. When we got there, we all felt our nerves settle. The karaoke was not set up on some huge stage with half the school watching, as many of us irrationally believed it would be. Rather, there were a few people on couches cheering on the heads of Active Minds who were singing Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.”
As their song came to a close, I went up to the computer and selected “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, a classic. I called up my friends who had previously volunteered to sing with me, and we coerced the other Sage C girls in attendance, Angelica Tucker ’16 and my JA Nicole Smith ’14, to belt it out with us.
Needless to say, the girls of Sage C may not know how to sing very well, but we sure do know how to belt out a tune. And we sang our lungs out, much to the amusement of the Sage C boys who came. One of them, Jace Forbes-Cockell ’16, even filmed us, jumping around, dancing and singing with no shame (fortunately, this video was somehow deleted and will not show up on any social media site).
After “Wannabe,” my entrymate Silvio Resuli ’16 and I decided it was time for a return to our childhood. No, we didn’t sing any songs by *NSYNC or the Backstreet Boys. We went straight back to kindergarten, and performed an interesting rendition of the Pokemon theme song. The first verse and chorus were flawless, and then came the embarrassment. Resuli did not know the second verse, but I did and I decided to go it alone. Unfortunately, stage fright struck me at the wrong time, and the lyrics that I had sung 30 minutes ago in the comforts of Sage C flew out the window. I struggled through the verse, tripping over words and refusing to look at the karaoke screen out of pride. By the time the chorus came, I gave the microphone to Resuli and retreated back into the audience.
As Sage C turned out more and more brilliant renditions of classic songs, by stars from Beyonce to R. Kelly, I knew I couldn’t leave Paresky until I sang one song with one person. Chatas had been the original Sage C-er to commit to singing with me, and I had been joking that we would sing “My Heart Will Go On.” Well, we made good on that promise and belted out an emotional rendition of Celine Dion’s classic. We got so into it that Smith couldn’t resist finishing the song with us.
I have to say, although I was extremely nervous and continually second-guessed my decision to write this article, No Shame Karaoke was an entirely rewarding experience for me. There was quite literally no shame as the audience sang along as well, clapping to the beat and encouraging the singers the entire time, even when we didn’t know the lyrics. I would encourage everyone to try doing something without the worry of what other people will think. Though I’d also encourage them to take a group of friends along, because I know I much preferred embarrassing myself in front of my entry, something that I had obviously never done until karaoke.