OLEAN, NY - A crowd of about 50 gathered at the Olean Applebee’s Tuesday night for weekly karaoke. The event presented by SHZAM Entertainment was set to get underway at 9. The first song, however, was not sung until 9:36.
And then the bar was full of people singing everything from Frank Sinatra and Céline Dion all the way to Rihanna and Panic! At the Disco. Throughout the rest of the night, people rushed from and back to their tables requesting songs from Julie “Julz” Federowicz, who runs the event. “I’ve been practicing that song all week,” said a voice from a nearby table as a group returned from singing.
The biggest surprise of the night came at 11 as people started to leave the restaurant and a man named Patrick got on the microphone. He proceeded to sing all seven minutes of “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang without referencing the screen once.
“I’ve known the song for awhile now,” said Patrick as he sat in a booth catching his breath after the performance. “There’s usually three people that sing that song, and I do it all by myself.”
Applebee’s bar manager Dan Miller said Tuesday nights are traditionally slow nights for alcohol sales, so it is a good night for karaoke.
“Karaoke coincides with half-price appetizers beginning at 9, another effort to increase customers and alcohol sales,” said Miller.