Christmas Karaoke

A while back, someone posted in a RevGal  Facebook conversation that they had been to a karaoke fundraiser.  I liked the concept enough to copy the description into a “tickler” note (but sadly not the person’s name):

 I went to a karaoke fundraiser once where people could pay for other people NOT to sing, as well as pay to force people to sing, as well as pay to get out of being made to sing…the group raised a ton of money!

Our music director made a face when I asked about doing a sing-along this Christmas season, so I offered up a karaoke night alternative.  He was intrigued, but two variables needed solving:

How do we get people to sing? 

How much is this going to cost us?

Getting people to sing… This is when I went back to find to the fundraiser note. Our folks are really familiar and generous when it comes to the  2¢-a-Meal we collect monthly. November and Desember are so crowded with asks for food and toys and coats and money that we actually were going to skip 2¢ until January.

If folks won’t just come to the mic and sing for fun, perhaps a favorite charity would help!

The scheme:IMG_0070

  • If you choose a song to sing yourself- no charge
  • Request an “all play” $1
  • If you send someone up to sing – 50 cents
  • Decline singing $1 altogether
  • Bring up a friend to help – 25 cents
  • Bring up your whole table $1

No one declined – the bring a friend/table options were enough to make people comfortable.  That and the host for the evening was my music director who is totally game for singing anything with anybody without upstaging them. In other words, plenty of encouragement and no mocking.

Setting up the tech side (on the cheap):

There are several free or cheap karaoke apps around, depending on your operating system and access to the Internet in your location.

We went with Karafun, which is a little goofy in terms of signing up online and using a downloadable app on the laptop. But the interface is enough like iTunes to be fairly intuitive. You can either sign up for a “party pass” for a couple of days or subscribe for a fairly nominal fee.

We used our fellowship hall’s sound system and projection system.  We didn’t have the usual sound guy around, so I brought over my guitar amp with a a mic input.  Because we had free access (and someone with set up skills), we added a large flat-screen monitor for the singers that meant they could face the rest of the crowd. We could also have let them use the laptop display for a prompter. Basically, as long as people can hear the music (more than themselves) and see the words, you can make do with what is available.

Other Observations…

Renting a set-up was going to run $150-200, which is a lot for a crowd of 30-35 people. If we had more like 100, you could recoup the cost pretty quickly.

People came ready to “spend” their money and we ran out of time, so they just added their quarters to the kitty.

Christmas was a great time to introduce this concept because the genre of songs was easy to share across generations.



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