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Open Mic Night livens campus music scene

Live music has an appeal that draws audiences from miles away, having perhaps waited in line or online to be the first to buy the sometimes outrageously priced tickets, to hear the phenomena that might only last a few hours. Live music has a unique power to attract people, to excite them and to move their emotions.

This unique quality is likely the reason that Open Mic Night organizer and emcee Andrew Kremyar believes that the ONU campus benefits from the opportunity to experience live music that Open Mic Night gives. He added that the event, sponsored by the Student Planning Committee and musical fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, gives musicians a chance to perform that they might not otherwise get.

"Open Mic Night gives a showcase of the many talented musicians we have on campus," he said.
The process of signing up is simple; the musician e-mails Kremyar his or her intention to participate sometime before the day of the event. They are allotted six minutes of performance time, which means one or two songs for most. They show up at the event, do a brief sound check and perform in the order given, competing for the audience’s votes. For the Sept. 24 Open Mic Night, the top three musicians were given gift cards. A raffle for two gift cards and ten t-shirts was also drawn, for which all audience members were eligible.

Individuals as well as groups can perform, like the spontaneously named "Jared and Friends" band of Jerrod Amstutz, Jessica Amstutz, Nick Jantzen and Andrew Saffell, who performed vocals, ukulele, cello and drum respectively. Some musicians played only instrumentals; conversely, some vocalists sang along to tracks. Anthony Taylor of Phi Mu Alpha noted that some performers have come onto stage and rapped. Others sing their own compositions. The artistic possibilities are left open.

A total of 11 acts went onstage on Sept. 24, reportedly an all-time high of participants. It was an encouraging experience even for the most nervous of musicians. The audience welcomed and supported all those who graced the stage, cheering loudly for all. In times of technical difficulty, such as when the first performer, Joshua Heard, had a failing of his background music, the audience chimed in with clapped and tapped rhythms mimicking the track. Later in the evening, Charles Levine played Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" on the piano, for which the audience sang the entirety of the vocals with gusto.

At the event's end, all in attendance were filled with song, having been fully entertained by the musicianship of their peers. A comment made by Andrew Kremyar before the show, and loudly asked to be underlined by another supporter.

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