Singing Telegram Job Swap

By Walter Makaula

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Not knowing that a singing telegram is usually performed acapella, and unlike karaoke, there's no musical background to hide behind, it's a smart idea to get some help.

We call professional voice coach Gary Shimabukuro for some pointers.

His advice?

"Just hang on to the note as long as you can."

But after singing just a few notes, it's obvious, this is not going to be easy, and it could be very embarrassing.

My cold makes matters worse, and after using up a whole box of Kleenex tissues, I realize this is not going to be good.

But Gary seems to think otherwise and has confidence in me.

He says, "Because of what you do, your diction is really good. So you want to play up on that. Also, I disagree with you, I think your tone is pretty good."

Let's hope the customer thinks so.

There's less than 24 hours to learn one of the most difficult songs out there, and get rid of a bad cold. Apparently I wasn't supposed to be drinking coffee because the cream is bad for the voice. Hopefully the cough drops will help and I'll be able to pull this off.

Fast forward a bit, and now we're moments away from meeting Mia Teruya for my big job swap.

I show up at her job with a dozen roses for her. I try to get rid of the nerves, and talk myself in doing this.

In I go. Mia is surprised. She can't believe I'm here for her.

First, a personal note from her boyfriend Bob!

Then, part two. As the first note leaves my mouth, she takes a step back.

Out come the words to Josh Groban's 'When you say you love me.'

" the sound of silence calling, I hear your voice and suddenly, I falling..."

The normally noisy salon where Mia works, all of a sudden, becomes silent. Mia's co-workers stand by watching the whole thing, and listen to every note.

For me, the end doesn't come soon enough.

Finally, the last words to the song, "...and when you say, you love me... Do you know, how I love... you?

Mia smiles with a tear in her eye and says, "Oh that was beautiful! Thank you! You have a lovely voice!"

I remind her, this is not from me, but from her boyfriend Bob. Mia looks into the camera as if he's watching and says, "Thank you sweetie!"

For information on receiving a singing telegram, go to or just click on the link located on this page.