Karaoke a cure for cabin fever at the Taproom!

Ethan Cameron-Vaupel stealing the show with his Sinatra voice.

On a recent Friday, Lake Bomoseen Taproom bartender Ethan Cameron-Vaupel stole the karaoke mic – and the show – revealing his Sinatra-esque voice and shocking the entire establishment.

With the sun setting at 4 p.m. in the winter and most businesses closing at 9, Castleton students and locals don’t have too many options for a night out on the town. 

As a way to help with that, the Taproom has begun hosting ‘Late Night Karaoke’ from 8:30-11:00 p.m.

The event features not only karaoke but cornhole, darts, and other bar games. And, in order to ensure everyone gets home safe, the designated driver in every group is offered a free meal! 

“I’ve missed seeing that life,” said front of house manager Michelle Adler. “Just to have people in the bar and having fun and making noise and cutting up, it just makes it feel alive.”

Creating a fun, energetic, and safe environment at the Taproom has been Adler’s vision for quite some time now, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic hit restaurants hard. The establishment switches from traditional service to a specialized “late-night” menu, transforming from a sit-down restaurant to lively bar.

“Since COVID, I feel like that sort of changed the climate for going out… Now we are obviously past that, but it has remained a ghost town at the end of the night,” Adler said. 

She hopes to continue evolving and expanding the late-night activities, with ideas of an upstairs dance club in the loft and Mario Kart tournaments on the TVs. 

Daniel Herwood, the host of karaoke, often sings four to five songs per night himself.

“Anytime there’s an awkward stage I just sing a song,” said Herwood. 

His favorite to sing is “My Heart Will Go On,” by Celine Dion at the very end of the night.

“It’s a slow love ballad, a great way to wind everything down,” he said. 

Late-Night Karaoke has become an evolving way to beat the winter blues, not just for customers but for restaurant staff as well. Bartenders like Vaupel, servers and even line cooks have been featured on the mic. 

Vaupel first got into singing in 5th grade after his mom asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he replied, “a rockstar!”

He hasn’t stopped since, joining choir, taking voice lessons, and even dabbling in opera. Today he sings in a church chorus on top of his other two jobs; kindergarten teacher and part-time bartender. 

This Friday he sang “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You,” by Elvis Presley, and the entire bar was enamored by his voice. 

“It literally sounded like Elvis,” said Adler. “I had a couple at the bar ask if it was really him (singing).”

It isn’t just staff stealing the spotlight, as many regulars, locals, and college students grab the mic as well. Universal classic’s such as “Stacy’s Mom” and “I Should’ve Been a Cowboy” get the entire establishment to sing along together, filling the Taproom with music and laughter, a sign of life in the bleak winter. 

Castleton student Rachel Medina and her friend group have even begun to make karaoke a Friday-night tradition for themselves. 

The crowd is diverse, with no limits to who can participate or how. Mothers and daughters sang Sheryl Crow together, and one trio had the entire restaurant in shambles over Toby Keith’s “I Love This Bar.” 

“I just love the people… the atmosphere is great,” Medina said. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post Men’s hockey falls to No. 1 Hobart to end season
Next post Ever see a Five-Lined Skink?