Best Karaoke Night EVER: Tennessee Mass Choir members crash East Memphis Karaoke Night

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After a string of solos, duets and small group performances, Tennessee Mass Choir members joined together for a stirring rendition of “I Want to Know What Love Is.” The group has started a new tradition of getting together for karaoke at Neil’s Music Room in East Memphis. (Photo: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises/Tri-State Defender)

Karaoke Night at Neil’s Music Room in East Memphis may never be the same. 

Let’s face it: most people who grab the mic on karaoke night can’t really sing. Maybe they can sing (as in carry a tune), but they can’t REALLY sing (as in ‘drop the mic’ sangin’). But on Monday, March 4, several members of the Tennessee Mass Choir descended on Neil’s Music Room for an unforgettable night of music!

It was the second time this year that members of the popular choir went for karaoke together. This time, 19 choir members sang secular hits as individual singers, duets and as trios before a show-stopping full choir finale performance of Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is.”

The choir founded in 1990 by the late Fannie Clark, who died in 2013. Jason Clark, the youngest of her four children, has kept the Tennessee Mass Choir going.

“At the time of my mom’s passing, I was traveling with several different recording artists. It wasn’t my plan to take over the choir,” Clark said. “However, when I was approached by our veteran TMC members about leading them, saying ‘yes’ was a very easy decision for me.

“I gave it all up for my Tennessee Mass Choir family, and I would do it again in a heartbeat,” said Clark, a professional musician, composer and Grammy-nominated music producer.

To get on the song roster, singers sign up with the sound engineer who provides the background music and lets performers know when they are up. So, there was a mix of Neil’s karaoke night regulars as well as members of the Tennessee Mass Choir. 

Well-known songs performed by TMC members included “I Will Survive,” “Proud Mary (Rolling On the River),” “Rapture,” and “Lay Me Down” as well as “Love and Happiness” made famous by Memphis’ own Al Green. TMC’s Margie Gibson rendition of “Neither One of Us” by Gladys Knight & The Pips was a big hit.

It was a night of soul music delivered by seriously talented TMC members. As a group, the choir sang “I Want to Know What Love Is.” This finale resulted in a standing ovation from all listeners – customers and staff members. 

No word yet on whether the choir will be at Neil’s again for the first Monday of April, but stay tuned . . . in the meantime, Neil’s is located at  5727 Quince Road (38119).