Students gathered in the Night Owl Café (NOC) on Sept. 15 for the first karaoke night of the semester.
A wide variety of genres including pop, rap, rock, country, and metal blasted from the NOC’s stage with instrumentals and lyrics found on YouTube accompanying the students’ performances.
Attendees came and went from the NOC, whether to participate in karaoke, listen to the performances, or partake in the regular free popcorn and soda, which the space continued to offer during the event, alongside a selection of baked goods.
At the peak of attendance, karaoke brought in a few dozen students. This matched with the numbers observed from previous karaoke nights by Director of Student Involvement Jess Gagne Cloutier. “On average, 35-40 plus, depending on the night,” said Gagne Cloutier. “Having 35 or 40 people on a Friday night come and do karaoke in the NOC… those are good numbers for us.”
Gagne Cloutier said she hopes that karaoke will continue to bring a diverse pool of students to the NOC.
“That had been what we saw karaoke bringing last year,” said Gagne Cloutier. “Students who weren’t necessarily part of a club or organization who are the regulars through the NOC were coming in for things like karaoke… so we’ll hope that that continues this year, and that we see students who maybe hadn’t found a reason to come to the NOC coming to the NOC for karaoke, because it’s a fun thing, and it’s a welcoming and inclusive activity.”
First-year Logan Cummings, who sang TLC’s “No Scrubs” as a duet with a friend for the karaoke night finale, is an example of an infrequent patron of the NOC who attended the event.
“I came [to the NOC] a couple times before, but it’s not a regular thing,” said Cummings. “I love watching people do karaoke. I think it’s a lot of fun, so I wanted to come and see… [the NOC] is a good area for social events like this. I think it’s a very nice little space.”
This academic year will be karaoke night’s second year running. It was first pitched last fall by NOC Team Leader and senior Sarah Gobiel, who also hosted the event and introduced each performing student.
Gobiel said, “I just really love singing and music, and there wasn’t a way I could get music into my college experience class-wise or extracurricular-wise, so when I became team lead of the NOC, I [thought], “This is my opportunity to create an event that not only I would love to go to, but people just like me who maybe don’t get that musical opportunity on campus can go to and express themselves musically in front of a crowd of their peers.’”
The list of sign-ups to perform was never empty and was cut off at the event’s end in order to keep within time restraints.
First-year Sophia Lloyd, who performed “Nobody” by Mitski, said, “I like singing, and I always wanted to [do karaoke], and this seems like a fun environment.”
Lloyd said she considers herself a regular of the NOC, and she hoped to see karaoke night… “bringing people together, and having fun in a more relaxed environment and not worrying about their own anxieties.”
The NOC is set to host karaoke again in October, February and April. Gobiel said she hopes to expand the event with themed variants.
“I’m thinking for the next one in October, maybe like some… Halloween songs,” said Gobiel. “A Pride queer karaoke would be really fun… and maybe a holidays-themed one in December or January… the idea that sparked it all, though… there’s never a good chance to sing sad songs at karaoke, so I’m thinking [about hosting] break-up karaoke songs in February because the February [karaoke date] is Feb. 16, which is two days after Valentine’s Day.”
Gagne Cloutier said that Gobiel and the rest of the NOC staff have worked to make karaoke a fun and welcoming space. “Even if you are not a strong singer, you can go and you can have fun at karaoke, and be terrible,” said Gagne Cloutier. “And people will still… clap and give you encouragement.”
Charlotte King can be contacted at