Add Karaoke to the Diverse Offerings at Central Campus
It’s not all problem-solving and brainstorming over at the think tanks known as Central Academy and Central Campus.
Every Thursday there’s karaoke in the Central Campus Commons and whatever academic tension may hang in the morning air is blown away by the lunchtime songfest.
It’s the brainchild, let’s call it, of Campus Monitor Scott Noah and it started on October 3.
“My original thought was for live ambient music, maybe a lone guitar or something like that,” he said. “But this has turned out much better. Kids were a little tentative at first but not anymore.”
They’re certainly not. Today there were more singers waiting their turn than there was time for between 10:45 and 11:15.
Eighth grader “Ace” Tipton power-shifted the mood straight into high gear when he led off with Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin. Afterwards he sat down at a table where friends were munching apples and slabs of pizza and quaffing cartons of chocolate milk. “My dad’s favorite band is KISS,” Ace mentioned by way of explaining his own affinity for 70’s rock.
Noah arranged for some speakers and a PA with the broadcasting and film department at Central. Most of the singers cue up their lyrics with a karaoke app on their iPhones. Sometimes the original artist drowns out the live performers as when a pair doing a duet of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep came off as timid lip-syncers. But one confident yodeler, 8th grader Zach Macvilay, boldly went a cappella with a rendition of JRA’s By Chance. He wanted to be heard, clearly.
It would be misleading to note that the aspiring vocalists performed to a full house; after all, their audience is a captive one – the kids gotta eat, right? But it’s fair to say the crowd appreciates the new dimension that’s been added to their midday recess. On a couple of numbers some spontaneous clap-along broke out. One of those was Queen’s iconic anthem We Will Rock You, right in the middle of which freshman Esme Lopez’s partner, who shall not be named, bailed on her. She carried on solo even though, “my vocal coach would not have been very pleased,” with her performance, she was sure. Oh well – those who heard it seemed to approve. They gave it up for her pretty good.
Among the toe-tappers in attendance were Central administrators Gary McClanahan and Julie Rosin, who gave the idea their blessing and have not regretted their decision.
“It’s fun,” Rosin said, smiling. “The kids get to display another side of themselves.”
All of the singers so far have been students but that’s not by rule, according to Noah.
“I’ve had some teachers say they’re thinking about giving it a try,” he said, “but so far none of them have.” The key words there may be “so far.”
The other thought that the scene provokes is how ripe it feels for the breakout of a flash mob.
Give it time. This thing is just getting warmed up.