On Friday evening, WMEB, the University of Maine’s radio station, and Campus Activities & Student Engagement (CASE) hosted the first Marsh Island Common Ground in the North Pod of the Memorial Union. The event featured live music from three different artists, as well as board games and free coffee for all who attended.
Ben Evans, the campus activities programmer for CASE, initially came up with the idea for the event, saying “Marsh Island Common Ground is a space for our community to be together and create a community of like-minded people who enjoy music, coffee, games, and hanging out. It shows that there is alternate programming for Friday nights so that University of Maine students feel like drinking is not the only thing to do.”
The first performance of the night was by the Renaissance Singers, an all-female a cappella group on campus. Their set was a mix of old classics, such as The Chordettes’s 1954 song “Mr. Sandman,” more modern classics such as “All Star” by Smash Mouth, ending the set with “It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls.
Next the Maine Steiners, the oldest a cappella group at UMaine, performed a few medleys, ending their set with a mix of Disney songs. The Maine Steiners utilized the visual aspect of a live performance, mingling with the audience during their rendition of “Kiss The Girl” from “The Little Mermaid”, having one of the performers kiss his girlfriend.
The last performance of the night was by Molly Westbrook, who closed the event with a variety of songs, including “I Like Giants” by Kimya Dawson, “Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard” by Paul Simon and “Honey and I” by HAIM.
Matthew Griffin, a first-year chemistry student, attended the latter half of Friday night’s event. Griffin noted that he could not pick a favorite performance as they were all impressive. Griffin and ten others surveyed said they were excited to come to the Marsh Island Common Ground again.
“Our idea is that we’re going to bring in performers every week; we’re gonna host open mics. We want to bring out the talent within the community,” Evans said. “We know that there haven’t been a lot of options for students to do that in the past. We just want this to be a space where the community can get together and show off what they’ve been working on. It doesn’t matter if you have never performed, or have for thousands of people.”
The Marsh Island Common Ground will return every Friday night from 7-9 p.m. throughout the semester in the North Pod of the Memorial Union. Next week’s event will feature an open mic night for students interested in performing or watching their peers performances.