Eastern student shares how he brightens up karaoke night with song

Hannah Shillo, Associate News Editor

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Nearly every Tuesday during the semester from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., students gather at a local bar for karaoke night and request songs by Eminem, Taylor Swift and Barenaked Ladies. 

One Eastern student is considered to be the heart and soul of Tuesday night karaoke.

Corryn Brock
Austin Bucholz, senior communication studies major, sings country songs with other bar patrons at Penalty Box Tuesday night. Bucholz has spent almost every Tuesday this semester running karaoke at the bar.

Austin Bucholz, senior communication studies major, has been a DJ for at least six years prior to beginning his position as the karaoke night DJ at Penalty Box Bar and Grill. 

Bucholz got his start as the Penalty Box DJ by showing up for karaoke night consistently last semester. 

“I had already been around there that semester, like singing and stuff, and he really liked how I sounded,” Bucholz said. “He knew that I knew how to do his job and he asked me, ‘Do you want a job?’” 

Since August, Bucholz has been entertaining the crowd and taking song requests every Tuesday night. 

Sometimes the requests are from newcomers and sometimes they are from the “regulars” crowd, but Bucholz said he can tell when people are there to have fun.  

“What I like about the regulars is they just bring a certain energy and you know they want to be there and they’re having fun,” Bucholz said. “I’m having a good time when they’re having a good time.”

He said his favorite part of the job is seeing people relaxing and enjoying themselves during the middle of the school week. 

“I had this girl say this to me on Tuesday — she was just really happy, like at the end of the night she hugged me, and she was like, ‘Thank you for playing all my songs; I had so much fun,’” Bucholz said. “When people are genuinely enjoying themselves and the atmosphere is provided, that’s the service they’re paying for, and I believe that I’m delivering good service and I’m proud of that kind of work.” 

The service Bucholz referred to is whatever people pay for at the bar; the karaoke is free. 

Like with any job, there are times when it is not as favorable to be there, and Bucholz said there are two things in particular that make his job difficult. 

“It’s a strain when people are either indifferent to the environment that you’re providing or they’re just like not present,” he said. “You definitely feel those nights when it lulls if it’s empty.” 

When the crowd seems less than enthused, it is Bucholz’s job to get them going, and sometimes it is not easy.  

To engage the crowd, Bucholz will perform a song or two himself in order to let people know karaoke is still going on. 

He said if he cannot get a singing crowd, he will promote the bar’s specials for the night or shift the music to something more dance worthy. 

“That kind of invigorates people to either get out on the dance floor, get another drink or do both, and if they get more drinks or get more amped up, they might want to sing,” he said. “You don’t want it to be me and two other guys singing. Not to say that I’m a bad singer; it’s just no one wants to hear me all night.” 

Bucholz said Tuesdays are usually a “prime night” for karaoke. 

“No one’s going to go to a bar on Monday,” Bucholz said. “Wednesday is the middle of the week, and we already have bingo night on Wednesdays from 7 to 9, so Wednesday is eaten up (and) Thursday is like diet Fridays. It’s not the weekend yet, but a lot of college students have either light class loads on Fridays or no classes.” 

Whether students have a free night or need a break from their current coursework, Bucholz said karaoke is a fun and safe way to spend their time. 

“If you need to forget about what you have to do for a few hours, just go and get stupid with some friends and go sing some songs,” Bucholz said. “It’s honestly a safe way to go and enjoy yourself.” 

Tuesday night karaoke is over for the semester, but Bucholz said it will begin again in the spring semester. 

Hannah Shillo can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].