Karaoke with a twist

Is karaoke more fun on a real stage than on a platform at a bar?
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A singer takes the stage at The Park Theatre in Holland. Courtesy photo.

Eddy doesn’t just sing James Brown; it’s a full body experience. He is all over that stage. He feels good, just like he knew that he would. The Park Theatre audience hoots and hollers when he wraps up. They feel good too.

“Eddy.” Photo by Ann Smith.

Is karaoke more fun on a real stage than on a platform at a bar? Is it more fun to perform with professional lights and a theater sound system — and if your number calls for it, a smoke machine? It sure looks like it.

“You’re not background noise,” said Jair Driesenga, who hosts the Park’s open mic nights and is the karaoke DJ. “People are there to express themselves and support each other.”

On the third Friday night of every month (next up, May 21) the funky nonprofit theatre two blocks south of downtown Holland pivots from its open mic and tribute-heavy assortment of local bands. The doors open at 7:30 for karaoke. Music starts around 8. Five dollars gets you a high-top seat and an unpredictable mix of dang good performances.

Park Theater courtesy photo.

The audience of several dozen is there for music and camaraderie, and if a beer from the Park’s bar goes down the hatch too, also good. There are folks in their 20s and their 60s, some in goth make-up and others in mom jeans. They’re hearing English and Spanish sung, rock and country and some nights maybe more, performed by vocalists who clearly weren’t pushed onstage by frisky friends. They are prepared. They have great pitch. When Halle Flowers of Remus leans into Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder & Lead,“ you thoroughly believe she’ll pull that trigger. Frank Anderson of Allendale, bathed in smoke and blue lights — no, green now — aces every note of Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls.” He leaves the stage smiling.

Park Theatre
248 S. River Ave., Holland
616-294-3678
parktheatreholland.org

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