It is important to say that this all began before the movie “Mama Mia” came out, but the movie itself propagated what was happening. I had been to the Korean singing rooms, the nore bangs. They are places where you sing karaoke privately just with your friends. The first time I sang, my knees shook crazy I was so scared, but I was just there with a couple of friends and my kids. They were the only ones who could hear me, but I still had stage fright. The machine always rates you when you sing, and It relaxed me and made me feel better when at the end of the first song I sang, “Killing me Softly” by Roberta Flack, the machine gave me a 100% as a grade, and I felt much better. I don’t always make a 100%, but it is okay because I have learned to relax at the nore bang now. However, after that, I was asked to sing, and it wasn’t at the nore bang.
I was at a freshman orientation in my second year of teaching at KCU. Someone had brought a karaoke machine. The head of the English Department called me into the room where the president of the school was singing karaoke for the freshman. She handed me a book with a list of songs and she told me and another English teacher that the students had requested that we sing to them. I was surprised, but I thought to myself, “Okay, you have been singing at the nore bang. You can do this, just forget all the people are there.” The other professor was a young woman from Africa, and we were supposed to choose a song that we both knew and sing it together. I felt better that I didn’t have to sing alone. We searched and searched for a song, but we were having trouble finding songs we both knew. Finally, we found “Dancing Queen” by Abba. As I said, it was before the movie “Mama Mia” came out. We decided we would sing it, but I had never sung it at the nore bang. I used to sing along with the radio when I was young. That’s how I knew it, but I didn’t know how she knew it, but she said she did.
We made them happy. We got up there and began singing. I was very unsure of myself, and my knees were shaking again. The lyrics were in front of me, but it had been many years since I had heard the tune, but I thought, “It will be okay because I can listen to the music and to the other professor and get the tune.” It wasn’t easy, but I was keeping up. I looked over at the other professor, and she was smiling and bopping along to the music, and I thought, “Well I guess I should bop a little too. It might relax me so I can enjoy this a bit more rather than being so nervous,” so I bopped a bit too. I wasn’t actually dancing, but kind of swaying with the music. The song went great! We stayed on tune. We stayed in time! The students loved it and were clapping and standing at the end!
After the song, I told the other professor how nervous I was. She said she was so nervous she wasn’t even singing. She had been lip singing, and I had done the singing all by myself.–What?! I carried the song alone?! I was shocked because I knew it had turned out so well. The music professor came to me after that wanting to know if I would sing and dance at a school festival. I turned her down. I told her I didn’t mind singing for the students, but dancing was out of the question.
After that, every time I turned around, someone was asking me to sing “Dancing Queen.” The students requested it in the classrooms. They pulled it up on the computers. The friends I went to the nore bang with would put it in the karaoke machine and say they put it in because they wanted to hear me sing it again. When the movie came out, it just prompted it more. I used to teach the students songs in a conversation class because that is part of learning to speak a foreign language, learning songs. I had a class where we were singing Christmas carols, and it was that class that was always requesting that we sing “Dancing Queen.” Eventually, the English majors had a speech contest. I was asked to be the entertainment for the intermission from the speeches. I had taught the students lots of silly songs, and I told them that I could sing silly songs with the students like “Grandma God Run Over by a Reindeer.” The students always laughed about that song, and when we sang it at the speech contest, I still remember how much the professors laughed about it. However, when we were done with the silly songs, some students got on the loud speaker and requested we sing “Dancing Queen, so I complied. After singing it once, they wanted it a second time. They just kept playing that silly song again and again, and again, and I stopped singing. They were hilarious! The initial freshman who I had sung “Dancing Queen” for that day had all graduated, but the students were still wanting me to sing “Dancing Queen!”