Games People Play
I can’t begin the describe the fun you can have with Sing-offs. But I can almost guarantee you that some people are going to surprise you!
Here are two examples of recent Sing-Offs we’ve had in our family.
The Mountain House: Last year we had three generations staying together at our “mountain house” rental in the White Mountains of New Hampshire: my parents, Jack and me, Jill (age 24), and (above) LeeAnn (28) and her boyfriend, Ryan (28), and LeeAnn’s dog, Stella (4!).
Of course, we couldn’t have a family getaway without a Family Game Night. Game Night is even more special when everyone is relaxed and sitting by the cozy woodstove of a house in the mountains….the perfect ambience.
My parents, Bill and Betty, love our family mountain vacation, and my father always rocks the singing and trivia at Game Night!
For this Game Night, I prepared (in advance) a Musical Script, then made that into a Sing-Off Challenge. Two for the price of one.
The script (you will see it below) was about our family mountain vacation interspersed with popular tunes that they could sing a-capella — one team against the other. We played the guys against the girls, and I was the judge/moderator.
Here’s how it worked: I read aloud the story that I wrote about our Mountain House vacation. When I came to each song title or the beginning verse of a song*, each team (simultaneously) had to take that “note” and run with it — in other words, sing that song in an a-capella Sing-Off.
*No need for recorded music for this type of sing-off.
King of Anything
As judge and moderator, I had to decide which team knew the lyrics best or sang it best.
Since it was around Halloween, the team that did the best job received a candy corn in a Margarita glass labeled with their team name.
Believe it or not, the guys — my Dad, Jack and Ryan — were moving far ahead. They were awesome, including my Dad who knew most of the words, also Jack.
Ryan (at right leading his team) especially rocked the house. We had no idea he could sing!
Girl On Fire
That brought out the competitive spirit in the girls team — my mother, LeeAnn and Jill — especially my trained singer, Jill. With Jill leading the way, my mother and LeeAnn stepped up, too — when they weren’t laughing. However, the guys continued on their impressive streak.
The A Team
The girls inched closer, but lost by 3 points. No matter, we were all winners for the amount of laughs we had. Here’s the script (below) we used in the mountains.
Try one of your own — your “people” just may impress you, too! Be sure to aim for songs all ages should know and that are easy to sing, as I have done here.
Remember, you lead them off with the first few words or verse, and they continue on from there, as far as they can go.
MOUNTAIN HOUSE FAMILY SING-OFF SCRIPT: The family has been waiting all year to return to one of their favorite places on earth: the mountain house. It’s sort of like home……this place that is surrounded by “Country Roads” — It’s so quiet and beautiful that one can’t help but think: “let there be peace on earth” — The weather is usually great, but it doesn’t matter even if it rains. So what if “raindrops are falling on my head.” — This family is an interesting bunch. They are fun and lovable…but you could even say they are “creepy and they’re gooky.” — Stella is with us again, making everyone’s time a little happier. She especially likes walking to Diana’s Bath where she gets lots of attention. There are lots of other dogs, though, which has Stella thinking: “Who let the dogs out.” — Jill is here, too, with her grad school mid-term work behind her. She’s learning, though, that when she gets stressed to remember the wise words of the Beatles: “when I find myself in times of trouble.” — It’s gorgeous to walk around and see the fall splendor everywhere you go. When the sun is shining through the trees, all you can think is: “let the sun shine.” — You see all kinds of creatures up here. There are lions, tigers and bears, oh my — and you might even see “Jeremiah was a bullfrog.” — We’re lucky to have the girls with us again. As the two of them walk down the autumn streets, one can only think to themselves: “pretty woman.” — We see lots of mountainous terrain, flowing streams, pumpkins, scarecrows and beautifully scenic fields. It makes you think that, “Green acres is the place to be“. — Together, we’ll walk down the trail to the flowing river. In our minds will echo: “Happy Trails to you.” — Though the water is really cold, seeing the rolling river, we’ll reminisce about how we “left a good job in the city.” — We don’t watch too much TV up here, but the Red Sox are in the playoffs this season. That means at least one really good rendition of “Sweet Caroline.” — The Patriots and Tom Brady are also holding their own. Here in Boston, we love our sports teams and we also “love that dirty water.” — It’s such a glorious weekend up here, such a great escape from the chaos of everyday life, that all we see are “trees of green, red roses, too”. — Next year at this time, our stressed-out grad student Jill will be DONE with school. No homework, no books, no classes, no internships. In terms of her relationship with school, she’ll be singing a whole new tune, like “we are never ever getting back together“. — So this wraps up the Mountain House Family Sing-Off 2013. I hope you had fun and I especially hope that your year ahead has you singing not the blues! Monday, as we look back on our vacation, we’ll all be thinking: “yesterday.”
Prizes: Earlier in the day I went out to the local gift shop and picked out three “grand prizes” for whatever team would win; and three runner-up prizes. In this case, the grand prizes were souvenir coffee mugs with a Dunkin Donuts gift cards inside. Prizes always make it even more fun (and competitive!)
Back to December
Last year for Christmas night the extended family had a Sing-off, this time the guys against the girls.
I designed the Sing-off to include some Christmas songs as well as non-Christmas songs.
No Music Script this time, just a Sing-Off.
Each group sang separately (a capella), and the judges decided if the group’s performance was worthy of a point.
Because it’s not always easy being the judge (at least not in this competitive family!), this time I cleverly assigned my mother (left) and her sister, Aunt Joan. They took their roles very seriously.
Here they discuss whether the team that was singing deserved the point. In their Elf Judge hats, who could argue with their decision?!
Challenges: I assigned the girls songs I knew they could sing — like “Part of Your World” from Little Mermaid and “Where You Lead,” the theme song from Gilmore Girls.
I also assigned the guys songs I knew they could sing, like “Sweet Caroline” and TV theme songs (Gilligan’s Island, All in the Family, Green Acres). It makes it more fun that way.
Happy (clap along if you know what happiness
means to you)
One challenge had the girls acting out Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer while the guys sang (pretty well I might add). See photos below!
Everyone stepped up…but the girls stepped up a little more (at least according to Mom and Aunt Joan) and won — though not by much!
Again, it didn’t matter who won — in spite of the fierce competitiveness on both sides, it was all about the fun!
I Want It That Way
In the words of one of my favorite singers, Rod Stewart, every picture tells a story, don’t it?
Try a Sing-off at your next party…..this, too, could be you!
Participating in the Christmas Night Sing-off as the “cast of Rudolph” were my daughters, LeeAnn and Jill, nieces Shannon (at left as Rudolph), Jade and Karina, Mom Betty and Aunt Joan, Jack, Nephew Jake, Sisters-in-law Sandi and Monica, Don, Ken, Tom, my Dad Bill and Ryan
PRIZES: Everyone comes to our house Christmas night with a wrapped, generic (male or female) prize valued at $15. This replaces our annual exchange of Christmas gifts, which works out great in SO many ways!
For this type of Sing-Off, the prizes are not given out until AFTER the game is complete and we know the victorious team. The “losing” team (in this case, the guys) chooses their prizes first and opens them. The “winning” team (in this case, the girls) chooses their prizes second.
If the girls wanted something different from what they chose, they could “steal” from the guys whatever prize they coveted (lottery tickets and gift cards are always most popular!) But the guys could not swap back.
So, it’s sort of a “Yankee Swap meets a Sing-Off.” As you might imagine, the prize exchange promotes a whole other round of laughs and competitiveness!
Memories wrapped in laughter are a joy to reopen.
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