I know I have mentioned karaoke a few times, but I want to invite you in to our little world.
It used to be the first Saturday of every month, but we have decided to start doing it every Saturday. So, every weekend, we get all the gear ready and head to the Lodge when Mike gets off of work. Since the Lodge is a private club, smoking is allowed in the bar, so I make sure to take eye drops. Even after all this time I am not used to the smoke. There's a playroom in the back that has a TV, toys, and books for the kids, so they always have something to do when they aren't singing.
I have horrible stage fright. Therefore, I run the equipment, change CDs, even get some homework done, while Mike does all the talking and buttering up the audience/performers, who are all like family. Every once in a while we have someone new, but normally we have the 'usual crowd'. In fact, the usual crowd is so usual, we just keep their song slips in a small box, in alphabetical order. This way, they don't have to search for their songs every time, and we save a LOT of paper.
There's a whole bunch of wonderful people who come sing to us. First, of course, is Mike, my lovely husband who can sing almost any Garth Brooks or George Strait song perfectly. You would swear you were listening to a CD instead of an 'amateur'. And I don't think I am being biased, I've heard others tell him that as well. Since he drives so much for work, he keeps a pad of paper and a pen in the van so he can write down any new songs he wants to sing. Emma sings her Taylor Swift and Martina McBride songs, and Robbie (tries to) sing "Life is A Highway."
We took over from another couple who had been doing it for years, and had finally gotten burned out. They still come and sing, they just don't want to stand up on stage anymore. But since the powers that be have decided to let us sing every week, we're going to take turns with them so we can get a Saturday free every now and then. They sing too, and boy, are they good. You'd swear Jason Aldean and Faith Hill were right in front of you. They have their own equipment at home, so they get to practice. When their kids come and visit, we get a whole family of great singers.
I don't drink, so I get to watch all the shenanigans going on. Toby Keith's "I Love This Bar"? Ok, we don't drink from Mason jars, and there are no hookers, but we get a lot of those characters. And since most of them are regulars, we get them every week.
The majority of our regulars can sing, but there are a few who really need singing lessons. You expect this with any karaoke night, and we all love, or at least, tolerate them. And surprisingly, it doesn't matter how drunk they are (or you are) they still sound the same. Most of them are good-natured, giving as good as they get with the jokes and ribbing.
We have the guy that sounds exactly like Elvis, the girl that sounds like Naomi Judd, and the gentleman that sings Amazing Grace, but only when he's had at least a 12 pack. We also have the drunk girls, who try with all their might to get the same guys to go home with them. Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results? And the teenagers that come with their parents (again, private club) who sing so softly Mike has to turn the mics up as loud as they go so we can catch the whispered words.
When someone new does come in, it's always an experience. Usually, they are not cowboys or rednecks, so they want to sing rock or pop. We do have some rock songs, but this being Show Low Elk's Lodge, most of the singers prefer country. Everyone is polite, clapping when it's over, but no one gets up to dance or sing along. Most of the people like that come once with a friend (if you aren't a member, you have to be signed in by someone who is) and we never see them again.
There is a tradition at the Elks Lodge--I believe at every Lodge around the world--that time stops at 11 pm, so we can remember and honor every Elk who has gone before us. To us members, it's just part of hanging out, but to guests it can be kind of a buzz kill. Regardless, at 11, the music stops, the hats come off, the laughter ceases, and even I join in to sing Auld Lang Syne and God Bless America. After our memorial, Mike starts the music back up and we usually end up shutting the bar down around 2. By then the kids have passed out in the play room, sometimes I even sneak back there and doze off.
We get everything cleaned up, load the kids in the car, and then I drive us home. And even though we don't get to bed until after 3 a.m., I am still up with the kids by 7, and I never miss a Sunday in church.