Singing Together

YMCA offers karaoke nights for families and kids

Tom Giffey

“I would be shocked if we did not hear ‘Let It Go’ a few times.”
YMCA's Jen Zwicky
Pretty much everybody loves to sing, but how we demonstrate that love changes with age. When we’re kids, we’re liable to belt out our favorite tunes any old time – appropriate or not. As adults, we generally get more reticent, reserving our vocalization for the shower or the car (radio on, windows up, of course). For grown-ups, karaoke is the major exception to this rule: The synthesized backing track and the animated ball bouncing atop familiar lyrics combine to create a safe space to let out our inner child and aim for the high notes. Karaoke’s ability to turn back the clock is one of the things that makes the Eau Claire YMCA’s new Family Karaoke Night so exciting. Between 4:30 and 6pm on one Friday a month through the end of the year (Oct. 10, Nov. 14, and Dec. 12), the Y is transforming its party room into a free karaoke lounge for kids (particularly those ages 6 to 14) and their parents and grandparents. Other YMCA activities – such as the Flick ’n’ Float, father/daughter dances, and the Monster Bash Halloween Party – attest to the fact that Y is about social development as much as it is about developing your abs. Jen Zwicky, youth development director at the Y, says attendees with experience a laid-back environment to test their pipes on a karaoke machine with two microphones (the better to sing a duet with your kid). “The primary goal of this program is that the kids (and adults!) have fun and get to spend some quality time together as a family, participating in something together outside of the house,” Zwicky says. “However, I’m also sure that kids (and, again, adults!) will gain valuable traits such as confidence and self-esteem as they go outside of their comfort zone and really put themselves out there, singing their hearts out!” Songs will be available from a selection of karaoke CDs (some of which feature vocal backup tracks) including many Disney tunes. And yes, to answer the inevitable question, that means the kids will be able to sing their favorite tunes from Frozen. “I would be shocked if we did not hear ‘Let It Go’ a few times,” Zwicky acknowledges, “but I do think we’ll get a variety of songs, especially if some parents take the plunge and rock out to an ’80s or ’90s song that they love!” So let go of those inhibitions and get ready to rock out with your kiddies!

To learn more, call (715) 836-8460 or visit

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