Mount St. Joseph University

The Power of Sound

Dateline: student newspaper

By: Garret Liette

For the past two years, on the first Tuesday of each month, Mount St. Joseph University’s Campus Activities Board has been holding Open Mic Nights in the Harrington center. For those of you who have not been to this event, let me give you a visual.

If you walk into the Harrington Center’s dining hall on the first Tuesday of the month around 9:30 p.m., you’ll see people sitting at each of the tables. You’ll look around and you see people with guitars, other instruments, or pieces of paper with lyrics or words on them. Throughout the crowd you will see a mixture of people you know, people you don’t, along with faculty, and staff. Some of them are there to perform, to help make sure this is possible, and some are there to watch. Lastly if you look towards the back, you’ll see a line for something every college kid hopes and dreams of seeing anywhere, free food.

Although the mix of students and teachers might be visually appealing, and the smell of free food gleefully hitting your nose, tonight is neither about sight nor smell. This night is all about what you hear. One of the reasons Open Mic Night is put on is to make it so that anyone who wants to perform anything, can. Usually, most of the performers are musically oriented. There are people who come in and play guitar and sing, who play piano, or any other instrument. Even if someone wants to sing to along to a karaoke version of their favorite song, they can do that too. But it is definitely not limited to music. There are people who read poetry, either original, or a poem from their favorite author. There have been people who perform comedy acts or even skits from their favorite show, movie, or play. Any person who is part of the faculty, staff, or student body is allowed to perform.

Beyond the sheer act or excitement of performances, I feel there is a much deeper meaning to all of this. Once we have everyone gathered to support and watch our fellow Lions, there is a great sense of community and school spirit in that dining hall. This is brought about simply by all of us being together for a shared reason. For some people, including myself, it has an even deeper meaning than that.

I have been performing at Open Mic Nights from the time that the Campus Activities Board started hosting these during my freshman year. When I first heard about this, I had been singing throughout high school, but I had only been playing guitar for about three or four months. I looked at it as a great opportunity to show the school, but more importantly myself, what I can do. Although this was exciting, it was also nerve-racking. I did that performance and it really shaped my college career. Through the first few Open Mic Nights, I met some friends who would introduce me to other clubs and organizations that I would not have been a part of otherwise. I am also getting a minor in music and if it weren’t for Open Mic Nights and the head of the music department, Mark McCafferty (without him Open Mic Night would not happen), I would not be studying my one true passion, music. Because of my minor in music and my drive to make Open Mic Nights, and myself better, I have written my own original music and even begun posting videos onto YouTube. The first time I performed a song that I wrote was at an Open Mic Night. I had the support of friends and everyone who was in the Harrington Center that night. I’m not sure where I would be right now if I didn’t have this wonderful event once a month.

The next Open Mic Night is Nov.1  at 9:30 p.m. in the Harrington Center. If you would like to perform in front of a group of people excited to hear what you can do, contact Stephen Craig. I cannot wait to see the performance you can put on.