Karaoke as Democracy

Karaoke 02We went to a New Year’s Eve party at Playhouse Merced. The event started at 8:00 on Wednesday evening, and it was in full swing by the time we arrived. 

The Playhouse was well decorated for the event.  The main stage area had a fresh coat of paint.  A small, raised platform supported the three-person band.  A few people were dancing to the music; others were sitting, enjoying the show.

The foyer housed the drink bar, nibbles, and conversation areas.  It stayed full most of the night.  Some folks went to the event to be with friends and chat.  Conversation areas were scattered around the room.  One couple was visiting the area from South Dakota.  They found the event on the web and decided to join the festivities.

Upstairs in the Studio was the karaoke bar.  Cafe tables were set up, along with a small bar and a karaoke stage.  It was my first time to experience karaoke, and I was pleasantly surprised.

One by one people looked at the huge catalog of songs available, signed up with the person in charge of song order, and then waited for their turn.  Some had lovely voices.  Others sounded like cats fighting.  However, the audience treated every performer with kindness.

The karaoke performances were very democratic.  Everyone that wanted to got their opportunity at the microphone.  Everyone was treated with the same courtesies and respect.  Maybe it’s not that way at every karaoke night, but it was true here.

The performance that impressed me the most was that of the child who, accompanied with an adult, sang “Jingle Bells.”  It wasn’t a stellar performance, but that’s not the point.  The child was included as part of the karaoke community, people applauded, and the child left with an optimistic view of human acceptance.  It was a good example of human cooperation and contribution. 

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