Plenty of practice and persistence have earned a couple of talented Calgarians some international recognition.
John Wiest and Mike Smoroden have returned from the World Karaoke Championships in Norway with a silver trophy in the duet category.
“They call your names, and we’re like, ‘Oh, that’s us,'” Smoroden said.
“We raised our Canadian flag on high — you’re excited, you’re happy,” Wiest said.
The singing duo won for their performance of a medley of songs from the musical ‘Hamilton’ set to a polka by ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic.
“There are a lot of harmonies in there — it’s a very fast-paced song,” Smoroden said. “Competition at worlds is really tough.”
The two Calgary singers say they didn’t mind when the gold trophy in the duet category went to singers from Panama at the competition in August.
“Everybody cheers each other on there,” Wiest said.
Smoroden and Wiest will perform at a karaoke celebration at the Marlborough Community Association centre in northeast Calgary on Sunday.
The event runs from 3 to 8 p.m., with Smoroden and Wiest taking to the stage between 4 and 6:30 p.m.
They’re encouraging anyone who wants to sing to pick up the microphone and perform at the event.
“Karaoke relieves stress and it’s a great feeling just to be able to go out and enjoy yourself — forget about the day, forget about your work,” Smoroden said.
For both men, karaoke brings a welcome break from demanding jobs.
“I work with homeless families doing social work” Smoroden said.
“I teach undergraduate math at Ambrose University here in town,” Wiest said. “Every now and then, in a slower class, I might even show a video of my karaoke to my students.”
The karaoke champs say they may take another shot at the world in a couple of years, but for now they’re just enjoying savouring their singing success.
As Smoroden puts it: “It’s your one moment to shine.”