So, when Jannah and I attended a great Super Bowl party at our friends Torrie and Keith Weinstein’s beautiful motor home at the Quail Run RV Park off Old Pasco Rd. in Wesley Chapel, we had no idea we would end up singing karaoke every night for the next four in “The Chap” (plus a fifth night in New Tampa).
How did this come about and why would anyone subject themselves to not just attending five consecutive karaoke nights, but singing every one of those nights?
To be honest, none of us are really sure how it all happened, but it started with an innocent comment during the Super Bowl from Torrie that “they have karaoke here tomorrow afternoon. Wanna go?”
So, Jannah and I made our way back through the private gates of this really nice RV park the following afternoon — as karaoke at Quail Run begins promptly at 6 and ends even more promptly at 9. Unlike most karaoke locales, which are bars, you can bring your own “liquid courage” to Quail Run, which provides the karaoke just for its residents and their guests.
The really funny thing was that these mostly-older-than-us local residents found a way to line dance to every song the entire night. I mean, of course they’d line dance to “I Got Friends in Low Places,” but I was flabbergasted that they also did a different line dance when I sang Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” Line dancing to “Piano Man?” Really?
Even so, the folks were very hospitable and they did seem to like the rendition of the Kenny Rogers/Dolly Parton hit “Islands in the Stream” that Jannah and I do as one of our many duets. But of course, they especially loved Torrie, who is this tiny little girl with a true set of pipes. I’m pretty sure that the Quail Run folks would pay a cover charge to sit and listen to an evening of just Torrie singing “This Ain’t Your Mama’s Broken Heart” and other line-dance-able tunes. In fact, someone even suggested it to the management at Quail Run.
But, when we all realized that we were doing karaoke on a Monday night for the first time, we also recognized that in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel alone, you currently can sing at an open-to-the-public karaoke bar every Tuesday through Friday. I can’t tell you exactly how we went from saying that we could to agreeing that we were going to, but here’s how the rest of our week went:
Tuesday Night — The Brass Tap
In stark contrast to Quail Run, the Brass Tap in the Shops at Wiregrass starts its karaoke on Tuesday later than any of the other locales in our area (it usually starts at around 9:30), and it definitely attracts the youngest crowd. And, even though Torrie is the only near-millennial in our happy group, we always have a lot of fun singing at The Brass Tap. Keith even sang once — “Tequila” by The Champs. (Look it up!)
Wednesday Night — O’Brien’s
O’Brien’s Irish Pub (see ad on pg. 35) is where Jannah and I first sang together and I’ve written before about karaoke jock Gary Carmichael of Heart & Soul Karaoke and our awesome crowd of fellow regulars at O’Brien’s, which also was where we first met Torrie and Keith.
One of those regulars is our friend Derrell Newell, also known as “Elvis D,” a professional Elvis impersonator who also did a great Roy Orbison impression helping Jannah and me on “Handle With Care” by the Traveling Wilburys.
We also were excited that a few of the folks from Quail Run met us at O’Brien’s — we assumed to watch Torrie again.
Thursday Night — The Basement
Even though it “only” has beer and wine, we all agreed that we also always have fun at The Basement, where our friend Gary also runs the show — and Gary has probably the best “legal” list of karaoke songs to sing of any karaoke jock I’ve met.
We all agreed that this would be the earliest night for us of this now-too-long week of ruining our hearing, so that we could still make it to Friday intact. Once again, Torrie brought down the house with her current favorite karaoke tune — “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” the Roberta Flack hit from the 1970s that was redone with an almost reggae beat by the Fugees in 1996).
Friday Night — Bayscape Bistro at Heritage Isles Golf Club
The Bayscape Bistro at Heritage Isles Golf Club on Cross Creek Blvd. (near Morris Bridge Rd.) in New Tampa (see “Gary’s Favorites” on pages 31-35) is more than just one of my favorite new restaurants in our area.
Owners Eddie and Lourdes Bujarski, the couple who ran the Culinary Arts program at New Tampa’s Wharton High for nearly two decades, have a great little neighborhood restaurant and bar with a fun crowd of regulars.
We also were happy that we convinced our friend Ron, the O’Brien’s regular who first introduced us to Torrie and Keith, to come out to join us at Bayscape Bistro.
And, even though neither Torrie nor Jannah agreed to do the same, I decided that I was going to try to make it through the week without repeating even one song, just to challenge myself. And, judging by the 22 tunes on my “set list” (right), I accomplished my goal, even though I have no idea why I would even try it.
So, there you have it…our five-day Karaokethon. It was a lot of fun, but would we ever do it again? “Oh hell no,” we all agreed.