Saturday, September 30, 2023

“Let’s Dance”: Karaoke Night at Chris Young Cafe


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Story and Photos by Wendy Keough | Contributing Writer

Karaoke night at the Chris Young Cafe was met with excitement and smiles by Middle Tennessee State University students. 

The Student Programming and Activities Office organized and staffed the event on Feb. 16 with volunteers and provided various snacks, candies and drinks waiting on tables near the entrance for attendees. 

At 8 p.m. sharp, event volunteers scanned through the long crowd to enter MyMT event passes and inform attendees to sign up with their names and their song of choice at the back of the room. A diverse list of over 46,000 songs were available to select from KaraFun, which is an online hosted karaoke subscription service. The wide variety of songs available ensured a diverse night of performances.

The stage at front was illuminated with lights that cycled and flashed between blue, purple, red, green and white as the singing began. Parris Dacus, the first singer of the night, set a high energy level for the evening by running to the stage and singing “God’s Plan” by Drake. The crowd applauded as he finished his performance, dancing on and off to the side of the stage. 

Dacus preforming “God’s Plan” by Drake

Following Daucus’ performance, another attendee burst into “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie, maintaining the crowd’s energy.

Dacus shared why he had been so eager to attend and participate.

“I’m majoring in audio production and I have a huge love for music,” he said. 

“I’m currently working on an album as well, so I feel like this is the perfect time to unleash my artistic creativity and I’m just glad I got the perfect opportunity to do that,” said Dacus.

Another notable performer was Michael Barber, who began his first song of the night with a proud declaration that he would give the room, “a dose of early 2000s nostalgia.” This was followed by his energetic performance of the song “Shake It” by Metro Station that caused a majority of the room to sing along. 

“I love karaoke, I’ve done so many nights of karaoke and I love being on the stage. It’s basically my home,” Barber shared. 

When asked what he enjoyed most about the event, Barber said, “Being on stage and seeing all the other people going on stage. Somebody did ‘Let’s Dance’ by David Bowie, and someone else did ‘BYOB’ by System of a Down, and those two, along with many other people, I heard them and was like, wow. They could really, really sing… I was just taken aback by how well they did. So it’s not just me being on stage and performing, but seeing everyone else who had much more talent than me and people that I share a musical passion with, seeing them on stage and singing their hearts out, that’s what’s great about a karaoke night.” 

Several songs were selected by pairs; this included “Hot N Cold” by Katy Perry, “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars and “Pocketful of Sunshine” by Natasha Bedingfield. 

Two different songs were selected and sung by groups of eight. The first group of eight sang “You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift. The second group of eight hurried onto the stage near the end of the night to sing “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley. “Rickrolling,” a meme where “Never Gonna Give You Up” is sent to others disguised as another piece of content, helped popularize the song. The performance caused laughter to fill the room.

As the event drew to an end, attendees were asked to applaud for the event staff, who had ensured that the night went smoothly. When asked if they planned to attend if another karaoke night was hosted by the Chris Young Cafe, Dacus and Barber both responded.

“Of course. Any chance I get to show off my creativity and just meet new people who share the same creativity and love for music like myself, you know what I mean? I had a great time and I’m looking forward to attending more events like these in the future,” Dacus replied.

“For anyone who has a passion for music or performing in general, and who’s not afraid to show off your talents and give the crowd a preview of your work, or just if you want to meet new people, come to karaoke, it’s the perfect place to do that,” said Dacus.

Barber indicated he would even be happy to attend a karaoke night twice a week. “Once a week or twice a week, I’d go to every single one of them. I don’t care if I have a big project due tomorrow or a big test due tomorrow, I’m going to karaoke night because I’m Dirty Mike, Michael Barber. I love to sing, I love watching other people sing, that’s my life. I love music.”

After witnessing the success of the evening, event staff indicated that they were optimistic that they would host another karaoke night, possibly even next month. 

The next themed event at the cafe will be “A Battle of the Boy Bands.” Lovers of One Direction, Big Time Rush and the Jonas Brothers are encouraged to come out for the March 18 event. 

To contact Lifestyles Editor Ethan Pickering, email

For more news, visit, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News 

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