“Nothing says karaoke like sobriety,” local artist Jody Richardson told the crowd at The LPSU Hall on Thursday.
Gesturing to the nearby bar, Richardson, the host of the evening’s Karaoke at the Hall event, encouraged patrons to start their weekend early, soaking up liquid courage before hitting the stage.
Karaoke at The Hall, a fundraiser for the Resource Centre for the Arts, doubled as the 2017-18 season closer. The Cox & Palmer space was lined with silent-auction items, while the main stage was transformed into a mini karaoke bar, with small cocktail tables and chairs surrounding the small stage.
RCA’s Nicole Rousseau delivered an opening statement, illuminated by a slideshow of the season’s shows, featuring snapshots from “Speed Powerpoint Night,” “Bakers Dozen,” “Fake Nerd Girl,” “Almost Baymous” and more.
More than 126,000 people have come through The Hall since its 2010 renovations, and thanks to fundraisers like this one, that number will surely continue to grow.
Richardson kicked off the karaoke, willingly butchering an AC/DC tune by performing it in the stylings of country icon George Jones.
The bar now set spectacularly low, there was nowhere to go but up.
Bill Smith was the first to step up to the mic, performing Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” for his LSPU Hall debut.
Bartender Kathryn Burke hopped out from behind the bar for Sheryl Crowe’s “If It Makes You Happy,” with actress Sandra Mills then performing The Beatles’ “Oh Darling,” her impressive vocal capabilities making her a tough act to follow.
“I don’t know what to make of all this talent,” Richardson said. “Back in my day, there were only five talented people in Newfoundland.”
Doug Boyce’s alternate version of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” rewritten to focus on cod stocks and seal hunting, had the audience in stitches, but the laughter hushed for Hamaisha frontwoman Laura Young’s amazing rendition of Whitesnake’s “Still of the Night.”
LSPU Hall staff didn’t shy away from the stage, with Danielle Hamel, Laura Huckle and Paul Warford stepping to the mic.
“I’m so glad the LSPU Hall could afford to hire the cast of ‘Fame,’” Richardson remarked after the rousing performances.
Locals Deb Coombs, Lori Savoury, Kirk Langer, and birthday girl Anna Stassis rocked the mic, with Heather Barrett and Steve Maloney also tackling a tune.
Doug Boyce returned to the mic to perform Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” garnering massive applause and laughter.
Comedian John Sheehan received an equivalent response with his cover of “All The Girls I’ve Loved Before,” sang in the style of both Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias, with a dash of Snook, AC/DC and Speedy Gonzalez thrown in for a laugh.
The atmosphere was so relaxed, fun and friendly that I was even inspired to take to the stage, rapping Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” the front row singing the lyrics back at me.
After the door prize and silent-auction winners were announced, we collectively tackled the karaoke classic “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” by Bonnie Tyler, the crowd singing the backup vocals.
Karaoke at The Hall is the best fundraiser I’ve attended to date. If there’s another karaoke event comin’ up at The Hall, I’ll be there again, with another rap song ready to go.