DJ Chauncey spins energy into Middlebury karaoke scene

MIDDLEBURY — After a full day at work, the gym (because we’re all trying to hang on to those New Year’s resolutions) and some dinner, lots of us head for that dent in the couch and settle in for a TV show, cup of tea and then bed. But sometimes it’s nice to shake things up; give that couch a rest and go out on the town.
What is there to do in Middlebury past 8 p.m. on a weeknight, you ask?
Good question.
One suggestion is to head down to Notte and kick it with DJ Chauncey, who’s been running the karaoke scene for Two Brothers for the past eight years.
“I’ve liked music my whole life,” said Chauncey Germain, who credits his dad, Jerry Germain, for his love of music.
“My dad was a DJ for most of his career,” Germain said. “He was a radio host at 1490 WFAD and 92.1 … he’s been doing it for 38 years. I would say he’s a name people know in town.”
Chancey Germain said his father always wanted him to get into radio, but the Middlebury native wanted to see people.
“My dad didn’t have to see the crowd, and he liked it that way,” Germain, who now lives in Brandon, explained. “I don’t get nervous with people. I like to see the crowd and see their faces. I like to try to make them laugh and have a good time.”
And those are perfect skills for a karaoke host.
After giving the College of St. Joe’s in Rutland a few months, Germain decided to turn to music and started interning with a DJ at Two Brothers. Eight years later, the now 26-year-old is a master of the mic himself and at getting others to come belt out their favorite tunes.
“The first thing I learned is that you need a big car,” Germain said, who drives a Honda Accord — not a big car. “I can barely fit all my equipment in there… but it’s big enough.”
Then he learned how to set up all the equipment, wire the speakers, the mixer and the computer programs. But that’s not the hard part. The hard part is coaxing people up on stage to perform.
“Being a karaoke DJ is really more a personality thing,” Germain said. “It’s about connecting with the crowd… I’m a hype man, I guess, and my job is to keep them going all night long.”
As you might suspect, Germain listens to a lot of the same standard karaoke hits like “Don’t Stop Believin’” or “Build Me Up Buttercup”; but he doesn’t seem to mind — too much. His favorites are the oldies.
“My dad was an oldies DJ,” he said. “I love that stuff… But really, there’s a song for every mood.”
Sure sometimes it’s hard to get people to come up and grab the mic, Germain said, but once they start singing… watch out!
“They can really get going,” said Germain, who works as a line cook at Coriander restaurant in Middlebury when he’s not a DJ. “The awesome thing about karaoke is that you can be whoever you want to be.”
Karaoke night is every Tuesday at Notte — all year long. It’s free and starts around 9:30 p.m. And DJ Chauncey is inviting you out to shake off the blahs, pick up the mic and embrace your inner diva. “It’s fun,” he said. “It’s tiring, and sometimes annoying, but overall it’s a blast.”

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