CICERO – Who hasn't belted out a song in the shower, or in the car on their way to work imagined themselves on stage, holding a microphone in front of thousands of screaming fans?
For those who have yet to be discovered – and even those who are probably best not discovered – there is karaoke.
On Thursday at 5 p.m., a group of regulars quietly began to gather at Cicero Community Park, 35th Street and Laramie Avenue, as DJ and Cicero trustee Victor Garcia set the levels and held a sound check. The monitor was ready to display song lyrics, in English and in Spanish. All that remained was for some brave soul to step up to the microphone will sing.
Throughout the performances, trustee and DJ Garcia oversees the technical needs of the show and keeps things running smoothly, taking the names of the performers and the songs they wish to sing.
"The purpose of this is to get the community together," he said.
As for himself, he DJ's just for the fun of it.
The town of Cicero started Karaoke at the Parkholm Community House in the winter on Saturdays. It was pretty much limited to adults , Garcia said. "We realized the kids wanted to do it, too, so we expanded it to Thursdays for everybody."
A diminutive Pina Vega of Cicero for first to summon the courage, and the familiar sound of a Mexican ballad streamed forth, and Vega began to sing. Even though it's early and there isn't yet much of a crowd, she sings on as if performing for a packed house.
"I love singing Mexican music," Vega said after. "My favorite is "Rocio Durcal.""
As Vega stepped down, a woman with long hair and sunglasses stepped up to the microphone to take her place. Her song of choice? It's Elvis, and she sings, "The Wonder of You."
Donna Bishop said she became hooked on Elvis Presley when she was 10 years old. She is one of the Thursday regulars at Cicero's karaoke events.
"A lot of people come here to hear me sing," she said confidently. "I can sing almost every Elvis song, except "Jailhouse Rock." It's just too fast."
If you ask her which is her favorite Elvis tune she'll tell you, "All of them."
But Bishop also sings the songs of Karen Carpenter and James Taylor, as well as Bob Seger's "Turn the Page," a story of the hard life on the road.
Cousins Ashley Alejandre and Bianca Montero, both 8-years-old, stride up to the stage with purpose and jot down their names and a list of songs they will be singing. They start with "This Girl is on Fire" by Alicia Keyes , then roll right into a couple numbers from the Disney film, "Frozen."
Ashley said she hopes to be a singer one day, "Like Katy Perry."
Juan Rubio of Stickney is 36, but for him, its never to late to achieve stardom. He takes the microphone and sings "Te-Presumo," by Banda El Recodo. Rubio had a band, he said, but he was a lot more serious about the music then the band. He writes songs, plays a little keyboard, guitar and drums.
"! always liked to sing, but started singing out about five years ago," he said.
He's working on a CD, he added, and proudly produced an i-Phone photo of himself posing for the cassette case.
For Rubio, karaoke is a good way to work on his chops, so to speak. He isn't intimidated by the audience.
"I'm kind of quiet, but when I sing it's different," he said.
It seems Cicero's weekly karaoke night not only brings the community together, it also brings the community out of their shells.