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Glee + Karaoke = Gleekeoke

Love Glee? Love Karaoke? Why not combine the two?

The Green Grounds Café in West Des Moines offers Gleekeoke (a combination of Gleek and karaoke) every Tuesday evening. The night starts with karaoke from 5 to 7 p.m., a “Glee” watch party and “Glee” karaoke after the show.

“Glee” has become a fast phenomenon with families across America. The show follows high school Spanish teacher and glee director Will Schuester as he guides the McKinley glee club, New Directions, to win the competition at sectionals, and try for a bid at nationals. The show portrays stereotypical high school students coming together to sing as they try to revive the reputation of the glee club.

Jamie Lamb, the events manager from Valley Junction Foundation suggested the idea of a ‘Glee night’ to Isa O’Hara, owner of the eco-friendly coffee shop. O’Hara had not seen the show previously, but was inspired to start watching the television hit.

“Glee” karaoke began with the premier of the second season. The average crowd is between 10 and 20 people. The atmosphere is family friendly and gives a warm welcome to all newcomers, whether they are experienced singers or tend to perform privately in the intimacy of their showers.

“I love my whole night,” O’Hara said. “It’s a toss up between the show and after the show everyone trying to figure out what song their going to sing.”

Last Tuesday, a group of about 10 ‘gleeks’ gathered in the eclectically inviting coffee shop to watch the 14th episode of the second season. The episode paralleled the popular party girl Ke$ha with the allure of alcohol. The Gleekeoke-goers laughed and sang along as Brittany Pierce (played by Heather Morris) performed a crowd-pleasing rendition of the hit “Tik-Tok.”

After the show, karaoke was kicked off with “Toxic,” by Britney Spears, a past “Glee” guest star. Other songs included “The Only Exception” by Paramore, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” by Queen and “Hello,” by Lionel Richie.

There are over 200 songs offered, including “Glee” versions of songs, songs with backup vocals for duets and also originals. O’Hara’s favorite song to perform is “Can’t fight this feeling,” by REO Speedwagon and hopes to up her vocal range in order to sing “Hey Soul Sister,” by Train.

This week was local Pat M.C.’s first experience at the hybrid karaoke.

“It’s kind of like watching a football game at a sports bar, but you’re all rooting for the same team,” M.C. said.

M.C. started watching the show when the glee club performed songs from the fame monster, Lady Gaga, episode.

“I liked the songs and especially the part when Rachel and her mother sing together,” M.C. said.

Former Drake University student Robert Uy said Gleekeoke nights are really entertaining.

“I think its fun. I like doing the themed part where it goes with the show,” he said.

Uy said that members of the audience are always supportive whether the performer is good or bad at singing. He has been doing karaoke for a while now and loves Gleekeoke on Tuesday nights.

“It allows you to step out of your box,” he said.

Uy doesn’t have much to worry about when it comes to singing in front of an audience. He is an experienced singer and sings with a barber quartet in Valley Junction.

Gleekeoke will be held next Tuesday, March 8 for the 15th episode. For information, look for the Green Grounds Café on Facebook. Not a singer? No worries, the Green Ground Café doesn’t sell slushies.


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