Students enjoy Open Mic Night

Ally Melling

Steve Learn, freshman exploratory major, played guitar and sang at open mic night. The first open mic night was held Wednesday in the Music Listening Center. Students could perform music, read poetry or relax and listen. JESSICA NAPLES | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Anyone walking by the Music Listening Center Wednesday night might have mistaken it for a small nightclub rather than a college lounge.

The absence of fluorescent light gave way to a darker, intimate atmosphere of relaxation. Candles lined every table, posh lights lined a makeshift stage and students ate and drank while lounging in comfortable chairs.

Kent Student Center Programming’s “Open Mic Night” offered students a chance to show their talent to others, by singing, playing an instrument or reading an original work.

“This is a cool place to have it,” said Mahlon Rhodes, senior English major and event coordinator.

Rhodes officially initiated the event by jamming on his acoustic guitar and singing. Through the night, he bridged the gaps between presentations with covers, such as Silverchair’s “Ana’s Song” and Tenacious D’s “Tribute.” Rhodes also played his own works while encouraging others to abandon shyness and take the chair.

Guitar in hand, sophomore exploratory major Steve Learn used the opportunity to play some of his own songs.

“It’s my first time playing in front of a large group,” Learn said. “I rehearsed before I came, but I did get a little stage fright and forgot some stuff.”

Students came in and out of the room.

“We came to the Student Center to get food, and some dudes told us to come up here,” sophomore exploratory major Jason Kaczur said after wandering in with friends. “My friend Bryan (Pauley) and I took lessons from Wish You Were Here (a popular Pink Floyd cover band). He needs to get up there and play.”

Bryan Pauley, junior business management major, did eventually face the crowd, strumming requests, such as Sublime’s “What I Got” and Nirvana’s “Rape Me.”

Though they were strangers, senior theater major Katie Wallace provided the vocals for Pauley and several others.

Fresh from her freestyle rap competition victory last week, Wallace (aka “Katie Katastrophy”) also performed a mixture of her own work and popular covers on the guitar.

“I’m doing this for fun, and I’m on the clock, so it’s cool,” said Wallace, who works as an event programmer. “Plus, I needed to take a break from studying.”

Despite the turnout, the event was not limited to song and instrument alone.

Before going up and reading his original poems, Wylie Lemasters, sophomore visual communication design major, said he was nervous watching others perform.

“I’m just really excited that I can read these here, that this is going on. It’s really cool,” Lemasters said.

He scribbled some words into a notebook then asked, “Do you think I can curse here?”

Whether it was the calming atmosphere or the number of attendees, “Open Mic Night” was an event that offered students something to do other than hitting the books.

“I would definitely come back if this was a regular event,” Learn said. “It would give me a chance to play for someone other than myself.”

Contact performing arts reporter Ally Melling at [email protected]