Monday’s Open Mic Night included ukuleles, electric guitars and a Justin Bieber cover.
It was a sociable audience, consisting mostly of the night’s performers, their friends and those who found themselves standing for a few seconds while passing through.
Hosted by the Rowan University music industry program in the Student Center Pit, the event gave students of all majors and skill levels the opportunity to perform in front of a crowd. The show attracted students who showcased their talent specifically through music.
Monday’s performances opened with a soulful piano cover of Vulfpeck’s “Wait For the Moment,” performed by host and senior music industry major Mike Parisi.
Parisi works in collaboration with the music industry program to supply the equipment and maintain the event.
“We are just passionate about music and people being able to express themselves to an audience of equals,” Parisi said.
It didn’t take long for a performer to show their appreciation for the event. In this case, the third performer, Dan Spizuco, walked off stage with his hands high, relieved but with adrenaline pumping.
“I’ve never felt so alive,” said Spizuco, a freshman music industry major who performed for the first time ever on Monday. “I thought ‘you know what, I’m going to go for it,’ and that’s when I started screaming at the end of the song.”
For the seventh performance, singer Kendall Huggins and pianist Robin Tharp came together for a performance of Justin Bieber’s “Purpose.” Huggins, hitting high notes that would make the “Biebs” himself proud, exuded confidence on stage.
“I like the atmosphere,” Huggins said, a junior health promotion and wellness management major.
Behind him was Tharp on the piano, performing on stage for the first time.
“It was a little nerve-wracking,” Tharp said, a junior law and justice studies major.
Next was freshman music industry major Greggory Nekrasovas, with David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” He gave this classic song a twist by playing an authentic ukulele acquired from his trip to Hawaii.
“You don’t really see guys, especially like myself, playing ukulele often, so I figured why not put a modern twist on a classic,” Nekrasovas said.
For his next song, he swapped out his ukulele for an electric guitar, performing “Sweet Creature” by Harry Styles.
With his somber self-written song “I Wish,” freshman English education major Alex Lepine made a smooth transition from the electric sound of the previous performance to the acoustic of his own. He began singing at three years of age, and then started writing his own songs in high school.
Alex never performed for the Open Mic Night event before but has experience in local coffee shops and talent shows.
The crowd particularly engaged in his second song, Smash Mouth’s “All Star.” He managed to get a majority of the crowd singing along with his performance, a first for the night.
Crowd engagement may not have been freshman music industry major Luke Altman’s top priority, but being the loudest was. He wore dark skinny jeans with a chain-link watch, representing the rock aesthetic proudly. He played his lead electric guitar over a pre-recorded band, ripping through solos and riffs.
“I’m here for the exposure,” Altman said, who is currently looking for a band to join.
Towards the end of the night, the band 3/5, who go by Ghost Tour when all five of their members are present, performed a self-written song.
“This is the first time performing in front of non-friends,” Mike Dålessandro said, the lead guitarist.
Nate Whyte, a sophomore music industry major and the band’s drummer, seldom goes to events on campus but said that this was an exception. The bass player, Dom Maurer, feels that the band “grooved” during the performance.
As the night came to a close, time became an issue for performers on the waiting list. Not everyone got to perform, and those who did not were promised a spot at the next Open Mic Night, which is slated for Oct. 2.
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