Written by Emily Edelman
About a month ago, I found myself needing a change of pace in my Wednesday routine and headed over to Infinity Hall to sit in on Open Mic Night. At this point I would like to point out that I am not a musician. I tried to be one (several times, in fact) but I can’t even sing and clap my hands at the same time. I like musicians, though (this is good, as I have worked with them for the majority of my professional life), and my fondness for them often sends me out of my comfort zone and into music venues to watch and hear them at work. Open mics are wonderful; they allow musicians to practice their art and bounce ideas off of their peers while providing a supportive environment in which to debut new material and take musical risks. Infinity Hall’s Open Mic Night does these things well (as is evidenced by the fact that there are more than a few people who travel 90 minutes or more to participate) but also goes a bit further: performers are eligible to compete for a chance to be an opening act for an upcoming show.
On May 29 Infinity Hall held the first of what will hopefully be many of these competitions. Twelve acts were selected from the open mic participants to play their music on the stage. Even as a non-musician, I could sense and appreciate the performers’ excitement: they were performing their (mostly original) songs in a restored turn-of-the-century theatre with great acoustics and top-notch sound engineering. The supportive environment I mentioned earlier was a big part of the show due to the large number of open mic performers present who were not finalists and the attention of an almost-capacity audience: we listened to every note, laughed at every joke, and held our collective breath when a terrific thunderstorm briefly knocked out the electricity. The people on stage were our friends and neighbors and the opportunity they’d been given was exciting to share with them.
The community that has grown up around Infinity Hall’s Open Mic Night is certainly fun for the performers, and it offers a great experience for spectators, too. I’ve been attending only a short while, but I have already made friends and been introduced to music I probably would not have sought out on my own. I’m not out of place there; there’s always a conversation to be had and another musical style or influence to discuss.
The Open Mic Big Stage Competition presents a unique chance for participants to play a great venue and, for the non-musically-inclined among us, to see talented local musicians and appreciate what they can do.
Open Mic continues at Infinity Hall this Wednesday June 5th, around 8:15, with sign-up starting after 7pm. Come join the fun!
Head over to Infinity Hall’s YouTube page to watch past Open Mic Performances!