Court Reporter Holiday Karaoke was created by Margary Rogers, RPR, CRI, in November 2020. The Karaoke Events were held on Zoom Dec. 4 and Dec. 11, 2020.
By Margary Rogers
Court Reporter Holiday Karaoke was a fun event for court reporters who love music. My goal, when I was creating this event, was to cheer up court reporters and student reporters during the holiday season. It can be very lonely and depressing during the holiday season for some, due to the ongoing health pandemic and the loss of so many loved ones. I also wanted to introduce to some, and present to others, new and fun ways to practice. Practice doesn’t always have to start with “Ready Begin.”
Music can be soothing and very entertaining. There is so much rich vocabulary that one can learn from writing to music, which is especially beneficial for court reporters who are in the process of passing the CRR, CRC, RPR, or any other literary-related certification tests.
I created a colorful holiday flyer and asked reporters and students to sign up (via email) for the two-part event. I also posted the flyer on social media to a majority of the court reporting Facebook groups. Attendees were encouraged to wear something festive and to Zoom in with drinks. We had great attendance. In both sessions, there were about 40 attendees total.
Karaoke participants were given the option to write or sing. Every karaoke reporter chose to write songs on their steno machines. Our karaoke reporters consisted of captioners, CART providers, and official court reporters. The reporters were Juanita Price, RPR, an official court reporter from Washington, D.C.; Angela Grant, RMR, CRR, an official court reporter from Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Sherry Knox, Camp Springs, Md.; Darian Elliott, RPR, CRR, CRC, a captioner from Frederick, Md.; and Michelle Houston, RPR, a CART captioner from Brandywine, Md. I thank them all for saying yes to the request from me to participate as karaoke writers. The writers all did such a great job and the students and reporters loved them.
I created an agenda for each session, which included the order in which each karaoke writer would present. The agenda also included additional songs that we would practice to. The agenda was sent to the attendees a couple hours before the actual event. In between each karaoke writer presentation, I played other familiar holiday songs (with lyrics visible) for attendees to practice to.
At the end of each session, the students and reporters cheered on the karaoke writers. The attendees also had an opportunity to speak with the writers for questions. The writers provided answers and gave great words of encouragement. The writers also provided their contact information to the attendees for any further questions or support.
Court Reporting Holiday Karaoke received rave reviews from the attendees. So, back by popular demand, we will have a Court Reporter “LOVE” Karaoke Night in February during Court Reporting and Captioning Week. The date is Feb. 12 from 8 – 9 p.m. Eastern. We will be writing and practicing to all love songs. To sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org and write “I Love Steno Karaoke” in the subject line.
Hope to see you there!
Court Reporter Karaoke writer: Juanita Price, RPR
Song: “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby and “Let it Snow” by Dean Martin
“In my 37 years of experience in this profession, I have never written to music. So, I was eager to participate when Margary asked me to write at the Court Reporter Karaoke. I thought it was a wonderful idea to help encourage the students as well as the young professionals in our field. I had so much fun practicing and creating song dictionaries. It was an exhilarating experience to write in front of everyone. As an official court reporter and CART captioner, it’s been my biggest audience to date. And, yes, I would love to do it again.”
Court Reporter Karaoke Writer: Darian Elliott, RPR, CRR, CRC
Song: “Christmas Rappin” by Kurtis Blow
“Oh, what fun is was to ride on the Court Reporter Holiday Karaoke sleigh.
I’m always up for anything Margary’s doing, and this was a lot of fun, a great way to break up the monotony of practice and to interact with the students. I hope the students were encouraged and maybe even relieved at seeing that even the fastest and most seasoned reporters still make errors and that we are all getting better with every job. I’m thankful for the zeal and dedication students are showing. I hope to keep the connections throughout our careers.”
Court Reporter Karaoke writer: Angela Grant, RMR, CRR
Song: “Mary Did You Know” by CeeLo Green
“Court Reporter Karaoke was so much fun! I am an official court reporter, so all of my work is done in court. I’ve never written to music before, so it was a new and exciting challenge for me. I chose my song, ‘Mary Did You Know’ by Ceelo Green, and I practiced it a couple of times to prepare. It was so peaceful to write to music, and I’m glad the students got to experience what it was like to write in a relaxing environment. Showing the students that they can write to music allows them to see how they can use their court reporting skills in a variety of ways. This has been a difficult year but being able to socialize virtually with other court reporters was amazing and I look forward to doing it again.”
Court Reporter Karaoke writer: Michelle Houston, RPR
Song: “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” by Elmo & Patsy
“When I first saw the post for Court Reporter Karaoke, it piqued my curiosity. I marked my calendar and the day of the first event, I just observed. I enjoyed it so much, I volunteered to participate in the second Court Reporter Karaoke event.
I transitioned from court reporter to CART captioner, so I chose to caption directly into Zoom using the closed captioning feature. The Christmas song I chose was ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.’ It’s upbeat and humorous. Everyone was having a good time moving and grooving to the different genres of Christmas music.”
Court Reporter Karaoke writer: Sherry Knox
Song: “All I Want for Christmas” by Mariah Carey
“When Margary asked me to pick and write to a song for her Court Reporter Holiday Karaoke Night, I was like, why of course! Writing to music from my steno machine was hardly new for me. In fact, I love doing it. I practice to music often just to break up the monotony. As a captioner and a CART provider, it’s something I did early on in my career. When I graduated court reporting school in 1993, my first job was as a captioner/CART provider, so writing to music was quite common and regular for me. I used a special captioning software back then that even allowed us to put in musical notes. When I’m writing to familiar music, I really get into it and move my body and stroke my fingers in the same rhythmic way as the music. It’s really fun to do! Thank you, Margary, for always thinking of me when you’re creating really cool projects. What’s next?”
Court Reporter Karaoke attendee, Carla Gregory.
Student, Hardeman School of Court Reporting & Captioning, Tampa, Fla.
“I am grateful to Margary Rogers and to each of the experienced reporters, CART providers, and captioners who took time out to participate in the Court Reporter Holiday Karaoke sessions. I had so much fun watching and attempting to steno along to songs from different genres. Each of the experienced reporters, CART providers, and captioners who participated in the session did an exceptional job in stroking out the lyrics and providing answers to questions that participating students had. They even took time at the end of the final session to provide us students with study tips and encouragement. I was empowered and strengthened as a result of this session and look forward the next one.”
Court Reporter Karaoke Court Reporter attendee, Colleen Brown, RPR, freelance court reporter, Toms River, N.J.
“Court Reporter Karaoke was not only a lot of fun but was educational as well. There was a fantastic variety of Christmas songs to ‘write’ to. Before we logged onto Zoom, some words were sent to us: mistletoe, yuletide, Santa Claus, etc. We all shared our brief forms on how to write them. After the hour, a few of us stayed on Zoom. It was such a great feeling of belonging and acceptance by the group. People shared practice techniques and groups and gave their e-mail addresses, offering their willingness to help others. I cannot express how happy I am that I joined in the fun of Court Reporter Karaoke. I can honestly say that the only regret I have is not finding this group sooner. I am thankful to Margary Rogers for hosting and look forward to future opportunities to spend time with this group of professionals.”
Margary Rogers, RPR, CRI, is an official court reporter, captioner, and CART provider from Washington, D.C. She can be reached at email@example.com.