Rowan After Hours (RAH) dimmed the lights and shined the spotlight on a stage in the Student Center Pit on Thursday night, encouraging people to get up and perform their talent as part of Open Mic Night.
Co-sponsored with fraternity Iota Phi Theta, the event was open to students and their guests.
Senior accounting major Marquis Rios, president of Iota Phi Theta, was excited for the organization to connect with students outside of Greek life, a reason why they wanted to partner with RAH.
“We see how popular RAH is and we wanted to get involved in the campus community to the point that it’s not just organizations like us attending, but together as a whole so we can bring those two communities together,” Rios said.
The performers featured a mixture of people involved in Greek life and those who are not. People could sign up to perform upon entrance to the event and were encouraged to share a variety of talents.
Tala Winter, a veteran to Rowan’s Open Mic stage, performed a few songs, including “Listen” by Beyoncé and a song by Sara Bareilles.
“I started singing around eight years old with my dad who plays guitar. I started doing musicals around 10 years old and I’ve been performing ever since then,” Winter, a freshman music education major, said. “Everytime I come [to RAH], there’s some open mic thing happening and I always get up and sing.”
The event also welcomed people who were not seasoned performers. Sophomore music industry major Devon Dyer had only performed in front of a large crowd once before. Dyer accompanied herself on the ukulele, which she has been playing for about a year now, and sung “The Judge” by Twenty One Pilots and “White Horse” by Taylor Swift.
“I’m into singing and performing, but I’m not very good,” Dyer said. “I don’t think I’m up to par yet to perform at Profs Spotlight, so this is a nice in-between where everyone is really nice and accepting of whatever you do, even if you mess up a couple times like I did. Everyone is still supportive and it’s a fun environment.”
Some students, such as junior music major Schuyler Morrison and junior theater major Zack Dash, took the opportunity to play works of their own. The duo performed their original number, “12 a.m.”
“We’re just trying to get a little more exposure,” Morrison said.
Though many of the acts included music of some kind, some of the performances were original poetry. Orlando Robinson, who graduated from Stockton University in 2015 with a degree in social work, shared two poems: one about being black and one about women having self-worth.
“I’ve always performed at my home school, so any chance I get to come out here and express myself, I take,” Robinson said. “I get inspiration for my poetry from my daily life. Everything that I see and everything that I go through is just part of my daily life so I feel like expressing it through my words is the best way to express it.”
Some of the audience members, like sophomore Brandon Reese, were there to support their friends as they took the stage to show their talents.
“There’s a lot of different things, a lot of creativity and a lot of up-and-coming artists who would like to put their stuff out there,” Reese said.
Other audience members attended just to see the talents of people they go to school with. Justin Brown, a junior radio, television and film major, visited Open Mic Night as a way to connect with the Rowan community.
“Since I’m new to the school — I’m a transfer student — whenever I hear about something new I come check it out,” Brown said. “I heard about this and it seemed like a good time and it is. It’s awesome. I knew there was a lot of talent here but it’s really cool to see them onstage in this sort of setting.”
Overall, Rios succeeded in presenting Iota Phi Theta to students not involved in Greek life. Whether or not people were part of a sorority of fraternity, people attended in the hopes of being entertained. Many, like sophomore exploratory studies major Jamira Price, were not disappointed.
“After our club, New Life Ministry, we always come to RAH and we love to see the performances and what everyone has to offer at Open Mic Night,” Price said. “The performances are great. Everyone has been really bold and really happy just to perform and just to get their talent out there.”
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