On a rainy Wednesday night, the lights were shut off in the North Pod of the Memorial Union and a kaleidoscopic background was projected behind performers as the University of Maine Guitar Club hosted its first open mic night, an event its members hope to make annual.
“The University of Maine Guitar Club is extremely excited to host its first open mic night and showcase the talents of University of Maine students in a supporting environment,” President Liam Kent said, as he opened the show with a recitation of Bob Dylan’s “Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie.”
Though the event was hosted by Guitar Club, performances weren’t limited to club members, or even strictly to musicians. First-year studio art student Harmony Stetson read her own poetry, including one titled “Beautiful Home” and another that she had written 10 minutes prior to performing. First-year English student Nola Prevost, read a piece by popular poet Sarah Kay, and later performed a cover of “Samson” by Regina Spektor on keyboard.
Annabelle Osborne, a second-year journalism student, only started writing poems within the last six months. The open mic was her second time reciting in front of people, following her participation in the Poetry Slam in early April. Osborne said that the crowd of about 30 people at the open mic was less threatening than the Poetry Slam, which she said was closer to 70 people.
She read her poem titled “10 things that will happen when the person you fall for just wants to be friends with benefits.” “I didn’t realize it was such a common thing in college until I started talking to people,” Osborne said. “I went through a bad breakup last semester, and I was talking to all my friends about it.”
Osborne, who placed third in the Poetry Slam, wasn’t the only one who participated in both events. Cara Morgan and Jennifer MacArthur read their poems at the Poetry Slam, and brought some of the same works to the open mic. Morgan read a poem about her diagnosis with a chronic pain disorder: “I think of my body like a memory now. I try to remember it so I can write poems about who I was before this disease.”
True to the event’s name, there were also many acoustic guitar performances. Adam Chapman played an original song called “Static” that he wrote in high school, as well as covers of “La Bamba,” full of passion and Spanish, and Radiohead’s “Karma Police.” Peter Natali performed Bob Dylan and Barenaked Ladies covers, and Theophilos “Theo” Loic Fitanides played a combination of originals and covers, including Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.” Towards the end of the night, Guitar Club Vice President Kyle Schumacher played the acoustic standard “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie.
The evening closed with an open floor session for anyone who didn’t originally sign up to perform.