When ‘The Gang’ Was Still All Here!


I read in the USA Today a number of years ago that he died at the age of ninety-nine. He was described as the “creator of karaoke.” His name, Mitch Miller! Who is he to me…well, my family spent many hours “Singing along with Mitch” for our Family Home Evenings. His albums provided accompaniment and lyric pages. I remember well the lyric pages being passed around to us as my Mother and Father led us in song. I had never heard of the word “karaoke” nor had anyone else back in the 1960’s. I’m not sure the word existed back then. Today every lounge in America has a “Karaoke” night where armatures sing to the words scrolling on a computer screen in front of them. Back in the sixties, Mr. Miller had a TV show where a bouncing white ball would hit on each word you were supposed to be singing. The words would scroll on the TV screen. I knew back then it was corny, but I will admit, that I didn’t mind “singing along with Mitch”, as long as it was with my family. I don’t recall how many times we “sang with Mitch” for FHE, but it was definitely more than a few times. I’m sure that my school friends never sang, “Roll Out the Barrel” with their families. But then again, they never had a family night. In fact, I know a lot of my friends wished they had a family night. Maybe they didn’t want to sing along with a “goatee maestro” like Mr. Miller, but they would have liked to have had a time that they knew their parents would devote solely to them.

I remember well my own “Family Home Evenings” as a young Father. Sometimes I’m sure they were boring; sometimes they failed. But all in all, I think they accomplished the goal of bringing my kids closer and of building unity in our family. It has created together memories. That is a good thing! So, whatever we do in our home for “Family Evening”, it will be better than doing nothing at all.

Singing cheesy songs might not be on your list to do, but I can still see my Mom and Dad passing out the lyric sheets. I can still see my mom’s smile as she started us, while my sister would be on the piano. All my brothers and sisters are there. It was a warm feeling! The chorus went like this:

Roll out the barrel, we’ll have a barrel of fun

Roll out the barrel, we’ve got the blues on the run

Zing boom tararrel, sing out a song of good cheer

Now’s the time to roll the barrel, cause the gangs all here

Indeed! The gang of us is now incomplete with the passing of a number of the members of my immediate family. But thank goodness for evenings spent together under the direction of my parents.  I’m so grateful to them that I have memories of when the “gang was all here.” Thanks to a Heavenly Father for giving us the uplifting and wonderful blessing of being part of a family that can be eternal!

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