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When in doubt, sing it out

SEB encourages student to show off their vocal skills

UMBC students will happily take part in karaoke once they have had the proper encouragement and a good vocal warm up.

UMBC students are diverse. UMBC students get involved. The university advertises this regularly, but avoids a more common truth: UMBC students are shy and uncertain.

However, in a recent discovery, students gave up their introverted natures to participate in some well-organized fun.

On the evening of February 4, the Sports Zone was not exactly a center for entertainment. Very few students occupied the space. Some were having low-energy conversations while others took on the familiar bent-neck posture over their books or cell phones. Even though the silence was pierced by an upbeat jazz tune that sounded as if it was ripped from an elevator soundtrack, the students were not moved.

What these students needed was the SEB cavalry, who charged into the Sports Zone promptly at 8 p.m. to kickstart the lackluster crowd. Immediately hopping up on the platform and grabbing the mics, two female members of SEB worked through “Breaking Free” from High School Musical while sustaining several fits of giggles. Afterwards, they encouraged students to pick a song and a slice of free pizza. Three students slinked over to the song book. Five students opted for the pizza.

It wasn’t until SEB offered their enthusiastic rendition of “We’re All in This Together” from High School Musical that students finally found their spirit. Those who were engrossed by conversation before were suddenly dancing towards the songbook.

Bich-thy Nguyen, a freshman biochemistry major, hadn’t planned to come to karaoke night. Yet, she ended up in the Sports Zone that night with a few friends in tow. She pulled one of them on stage for a cover of Britney Spears’s “Oops I Did It Again.” At first, the pair looked like they regretted their decision, but after a few verses and a look of reassurance from each other, they were gripping the mics and belting it out.

Situated in a booth to the left of the stage was Alexander Soundry, a sophomore biology major and the most-spirited spectator of the evening. He bounced along and clapped to each singer’s performance. Yet, he never moved from his seat. “I searched myUMBC out of boredom and found this [event],” said Soundry. “I think it’s fun. But, I don’t know words to any of the songs so I probably won’t sing.”

Shortly after the freshman duet, the karaoke virgin took the stage. Amalia Rivera-Oven, a junior biology major, grabbed the microphone as Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” fired up. Accompanied by Alejandro, her Columbian co-star, Rivera-Oven showed no signs of apprehension.

“This is my first time singing karaoke,” she said. “I hope it will be like the movies.”