It was a cold Thursday night at Bates College. After Tall Heights was done playing in the Village Club Series, I strolled around academic buildings looking for something, anything that would keep me busy. I was just too awake to bear with the silence of the campus. It was then that I heard some squeaking, grunts, and screaming coming from Chase Hall, and I knew this could only mean one of two things: either someone urgently needed help, or the karaoke night had started. Cider and singing for all ages and musical tastes were the prospect of the night
I had to mobilize the forces quickly. It was around 10:30 p.m. and, knowing Bates, I knew it wouldn’t take long for people to disperse. My younger friends didn’t seem very excited for sober and well-lit karaoke; I managed to convince a couple of 21-year-old sophomores to keep me company.
At the door of the Little Room, security looked at my earnest, cold sober, solemn, steady friend Abraham Brownell ’20 and said: “I bet you’re outta here within ten minutes after the hard cider is done.”
“Nahhhhh,” I replied respectfully for my pal. I thought to myself that maybe they got it right. Alcohol is not a requirement for fun . . . what really worried me was the lighting and the absence of greasy food (looking at you, mozz sticks). There are places in my heart that a full plate of cookies and hot cider cannot reach.
“Mild inebriation merged with amateur vocalizations to create an atmosphere utterly unique to Thursday night college karaoke” is how Brownell described the scene. “Hopefully that’s not too pretentious,” he added. After the first hard cider or so, Brownell and I agreed that we could not really listen to the full gamut of impressive human noises that were being projected in the Little Room. My friend got up to help the organizers make sure that the technical quality was top notch. “Clipping was the problem, proper gain staging the solution,” Brownell told me later. He did deserve accolades but the music nerds were mostly absent at the moment.
The night saw some impressive performances, starting with “I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” the 1998 song from Mulan, and through with country classics and Miley Cyrus. The heartfelt interpretation of Tim McGraw’s song “Live like You’re Dying” was absolutely hilarious – Anna Roy ’18 and Hannah Slattery ’18 rocked it. “The crowd was singing even louder than us at some point,” Slattery told me. The awkward empty space in the mid of the room was slowly being filled with people, and, by 11 p.m., the Little Room was well attended. “Everyone really enjoyed the new additions to the Little Room,” Slattery mentioned, referring to the pool and ping pong tables that were across the door from the karaoke.
The hard cider ended not all that long after our arrival, almost as if the administration was aware that the following day, Friday, would be a busy day for some students. My friends and I did leave shortly after, but for other reasons.
Cider and Singing: Winter Carnival was a Bates-sponsored event, part of a larger commitment by the college to improve the quality of social life on-campus. By providing the space, supervision, food, and, occasionally, alcoholic beverages for students over 21, the college has been providing students an extra chance to gather and have fun.