Wal and Dion Mitchinson of Fleetwood, Lancashire, have been cheering up the nation, performing as Father and Son Karaoke on Facebook.
Wal is no stranger to singing; he sang professionally in various bands in Lancashire before retiring a few years ago. So when lockdown happened, and the fear and uncertainty over Covid was growing, friends who knew about his music career asked him to put a couple of numbers on Facebook. Although Wal was reluctant, his friends persuaded him it was just the thing to brighten everyone’s day.
Wal uploaded a few songs, but he wasn’t the only one; his son Dion was busy uploading his own songs to Facebook too. Naturally, friends of the family saw both sets of videos and encouraged them to do a few videos where they sang together. That was the day the phenomenon that is Father and Son Karaoke was born.
Since then, the duo has uploaded loads of videos in the vintage rock n roll and pop genres. They’ve played classic numbers by Elvis, Cliff Richard, Johnny Cash, and The Everly Brothers. What started out as a bit of fun for their friends has travelled much further and helped far more people than they could ever have imagined.
Viewers of the videos have commented how much they have lifted their mood during the pandemic. It has helped get them through bouts of depression and anxiety and made them feel less alone. In response, the pair have felt able to open up about their own struggles. Dion was born with Hydrocephalus and Arnold Chiari Malformation, increasing pressure on the brain and leading to physical and mental disabilities. Wal meanwhile suffers from depression.
Wal admits they are overwhelmed by the response to the videos, which just started out as a bit of fun. He explains the popularity of the songs by saying, “We sing the golden oldie songs, and I think people like them because they’ve got good tunes, they’re easy to sing along to, and people can understand the words! We both really enjoy it, and it’s great that other people do as well, especially if it helps people through dark times.”
Dion is also happy to have a chance to raise money for local charities as many viewers have asked them to record a CD. Dion enjoys performing with Wal, “We’ve never sung together before – I’ve really enjoyed singing with my dad.” If that wasn’t enough, to round off this family affair, Wal’s wife and Dion’s mum Debbie works with two of her friends doing the admin to keep their show on the air. A beautiful example of a family supporting their community.
Their page now has more than 117,000 likes with more than 7000 followers from all around the world. Covid may not be going anywhere, but happily, it looks like Father and Son Karaoke are here to stay too. If you want to see more from this family duo follow them on Facebook.