From The Daily News: Audience to take the stage with Karaoke from Hell at the Columbia Theatre

by Katie Fairbanks

Audience members will join the band during Karaoke from Hell’s performance at the Columbia Theatre next weekend.

Up to 20 performers can sign up to sing with the Portland-based band on Aug. 10. As of Wednesday morning, eight spots remained open. Singers can choose from about 750 songs when they register. Tickets cost $20.

The performers will compete for prizes, including $500 for first place. Second place will win four tickets to any main stage season show at the Columbia and third place gets two tickets. Audience reaction is part of the judging, so performers are encouraged to bring their friends and family to cheer them on, said Gian Paul Morelli, Columbia Theatre executive director.

The live karaoke band is an opportunity for something different at the theater, Morelli said.

“Karaoke is fun and participatory,” he said. “We hope people bring their friends out and have a blast.”

Band member Tres Shannon said the six-member group started performing about 27 years ago and more regularly in the last 19 years. He said they are looking forward to playing in the historic theater. Shannon said he expects some of the band’s Portland regulars to make the trip to Longview.

Like regular karaoke, the singer is provided with the words to the song they pick. However, unlike a karaoke machine, the band can adjust to the singer, Shannon said.

“It’s so neat to see people get on stage and be part of the band and part of the experience and be so excited,” he said. “With a live band, it’s so much more powerful than the machine.”

Each performance is different because some songs get picked that the band hasn’t played in years, Shannon said. It’s “good time craziness,” he said.

Even for people not singing, the performances are “super fun” to watch, Shannon said. The audience gets a peak at how a band works as they figure out the key for each song, he said.

Shannon said most people are nervous to get onstage, but the band is very “gentle and encouraging.”

“I like when the person gets up (on stage) if they’re really nervous and then nail it,” he said. “It’s just so cool to watch them get so overjoyed with that feeling of being in a band … not everyone gets to experience that in their life, it’s nice to provide that experience for people.”

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Sabrina RosasComment