At the retreat's open mic night this past weekend, the students leading the event persuaded me to hop on stage for a rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'" at the very end of the night. Thankfully, everyone was up, yelling along, bouncing, circling, and playing air guitar -- it was less of a solo and more of a very enthusiastic sing-along. I admit that it took very little arm-twisting for them to get me up to the mic. I had a ball.
I have never sung karaoke, but I fantasize about it frequently. Last year I celebrated the end of my senior seminar class with the students in a local pizza joint and bar that has karaoke on Wednesday night. Several of the students got up and sang. I have to admit, I was hoping they would insist I take a turn, and was plotting what song I might choose. But nobody pushed me on stage, and I felt too self-conscious to volunteer.
My most frequent karaoke fantasies happen while I'm running with my iPod on shuffle. Certain pop acts and songs instantly send me into a reverie of slaying an appreciative audience with my rendition. ABBA, Fountains of Wayne, Robbie Williams, just to name a few. At open mic night I noticed a marked preference among the students for Coldplay, Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, and Miley Cyrus amongst the surprising number of original compositions.
What I'd really like is a chance to try karaoke at a party, among friends, rather than at a bar among strangers. The alumni who joined us at the retreat went off on their own for some karaoke after the open mic night devolved into a dance party, but I didn't join them out of sheer exhaustion. I regret that now. The supportive atmosphere would have been perfect for my first outing. But maybe that opens the door for something more authentic in Tokyo in a couple of weeks. Any chance that the participants at the Eighth International Whitehead Conference will unwind after a long day of papers and keynotes with some soulful ballads in the hotel bar, Lost In Translation style?