We all have a favorite song whose lyrics are indelibly etched in our brains, but would you sing that song publicly and on the street? The Street Side Karaoke project, winner of Awesome Pittsburgh’s latest grant, seeks to find out. This is not your mama’s karaoke. Street Side Karaoke is served up with a twist: it’s portable, spontaneous, free, and most importantly, street side. The project combines singing–a traditionally indoor and intimate, indoor activity–with the growing outdoor busking scene in Pittsburgh.
Inspired by CMU opera students and their Bus Stop Opera project, Street Side Karaoke brings music and entertainment to Pittsburgh in an accessible and family-friendly form by allowing people to not just listen but participate. The project’s originator, Judd Poeske, earned a degree in Opera and Decision Sciences from Carnegie Mellon University. Post-graduation, he helped to build two startups (Plutopian and Rhiza) and is always looking for creative ways to engage with the community.
Awesome Pittsburgh’s grant enables Street Side Karaoke to purchase the screen, microphones, speaker, and karaoke software subscription. The entire outfit will be mounted to the side of a vibrantly yellow Honda Fit in order for the sing-along experience to pull up to any street corner.
Awesome Pittsburgh trustee Elvira Eichleay looks forward to seeing this fun come to life: ““We are super excited to see Street Side Karaoke make its debut! At its core, the project is designed to be playful and fun. But it’s also an experiment in community engagement and relationship building. That makes this portable, outdoor, pop-up karaoke experience the first of its kind–and Pittsburgh its founding city–which is, undoubtedly, pretty awesome!”
Judd plans to run the initial project during summer months with one event in high traffic areas per week. To see Street Side Karaoke in action, stop by the Awesome Pittsburgh Pitch Party on June 27 on the North Shore.