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Videoke Queen

Whenever I've joined friends for a videoke evening, I've been surprised at how well they can sing. But I shouldn't be surprised in a country of singers. Singing is a great Philippine pastime. In church, I feel inspired by the beautiful songs rendered by the Sunday choir. On TV I've watched children sing like professionals. And at any party, the whole family sings while reading the lyrics on the TV screen.

But I'm surprised by my videoke friends because I've never heard them sing when I knew them in grade school. Now when they grab that mike, I hear Tony Bennett, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra or Andy Williams.

After each song a score comes up on screen to show how well the singer did. And my friends usually get a score of 97 and up. One of my earliest scores was 76. I was so humiliated.

I only knew one song, Girl from Ipanema, when I started going out with friends. And I was afraid to sing in front of confident men who would unexpectedly say, "Haaa" at strategic moments along the song. I've slowly learned a few more songs: If by Bread, Close to you by The Carpenters, Can't take my eyes off you. I've written down the numbers of these songs so I don't need to search through an interminably long list in a worn notebook in the dark. I hope I can get the Music System with microphone, video connection, and a 3000 song bank so I can practice everyday and surprise my friends with a repertoire of new songs. For now I must train my timid voice in the shower and heed my music advisor's words, "don't hold back". "Belt it out", he adds. Perhaps if I practice often like they do, I can score a 99 and be hailed Videoke Queen someday. Haaa!

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