Before the video game "Rock Band" existed, there was a simpler and cheaper way to get down with your friends and let your vocal cords free -- karaoke.
Not for the bashful, karaoke is a time for the young and old to strut their singing skills.
"At first I was nervous. I could not sing," said Chris Kirkingburg, 20. "But now I have no nervousness."
Kirkingburg admits that for the novice karaoke singer, getting up in front of a crowd can be nerve-wracking.
But it is all about practice, he said. The key is confidence.
"If they think they can sing it, then they'll do fine," Kirkingburg said. "I have never seen someone do badly who had confidence in themselves."
Karaoke DJ Steve Stevens said the good and bad singers are all part of the fun of karaoke.
"Sometimes there are the folks who feel they need a little courage juice to get up there," Stevens said. "But, we are not here to criticize."
Being the best singer is not the point, Kirkingburg said. It is about having fun.
Even children get into the act, singing along to Hannah Montana.
"Sometimes kids love it, and sometimes they are scared to death," Stevens said.
At the American Legion, karaoke DJ Big Bob Slauterbeck said he gets a mixed crowd of novices and pros every Friday night.
"We have all been singing all our life," he said. "But I did not have a passion for singing until I tried karaoke."
Stevens said he has sung karaoke for more than 25 years and sets his equipment up every Thursday night at the Main Street Grille.
And even though he loves to sing, Stevens shares the spotlight.
"Part of the reason I got into it was, because I am singer and I was frustrated in going to shows and seeing the karaoke DJ sing the whole time," Stevens said. "I start the evening off and then I back off."
People who really want to sing gravitate to my shows, he said.
On a typical night at Main Street Grille, more than 25 people come to croon. There are also those who come just to listen, Stevens said.
Most singers are regulars, who have their favorite songs.
Kirkingburg said he comes every week and always sings Poison's "Every Rose Has a Thorn."
"That is my song," Kirkingburg said. "No one can sing it better."
Kirkingburg said he has dreams of auditioning for American Idol next year.
"Multiple people have said I should do it," he said. "And it's the crowd that makes the singer."
At Main Street Grille, the crowd gets into the song as much as the singers, often singing along.
"I don't think it is impolite to sing along," Stevens said. "They are up there leading the crowd."
Singing Steve's karaoke tips
- Remember that the voice is wind instrument. You need to take deep, full breaths.
- Sing from the diaphragm.
- Sing as if you are in the shower, as if you do not care who is listening.
Where to karaoke
Main Street Grille, 202 W. Main St., Thursday 7-10 p.m.
Elks Lodge, 1206 N. Highway 87, Friday 5-9 p.m.
Moose Lodge, 225903 E. Highway 260 in Star Valley, Saturday 6-9 p.m.
American Legion, 709 E. Highway 260, Friday 6-9 p.m.
Buffalo Bar and Grill, 311 S. Highway 87, Thursday night