April 13, 2004 > Open Mic
by Tatyana Hamady
Walking into the lighted interior of the Mission Coffee shop, I spotted crowds of people seated at each wooden table, while another group of friends laughed on the pink couch. Most were waiting for a chance to step onto the rose carpeted stage and share a bit of their talent. People of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds have come to recite poetry, play an instrument, sing, or perform a combination of all of the above.
A little over a year ago, an employee of the coffee shop, Kat and her boyfriend, had the idea of holding an "Open Mic" every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. She and her beau were very involved with the Ohlone College community, thus most of the attendees were college kids who came to practice rock music. When the couple moved to Hayward, "Open Mic" was put on hold.
It was when Andy Macrae volunteered to host the event that "Open Mic" resumed once again. Andy and a friend, Keith, started to co-host with Keith providing sound gear. Eventually, they were able to invest in some lighting equipment. Now, the genre includes more soft rock, folk, poetry and occasionally classical, although any style is welcome. Andy is now hosting alone, and strives to maintain a friendly environment where amateur performers can practice on their performance techniques
When "Open Mic" starts at 7:00 p.m., Andy usually requests a regular to come up and warm up the crowd, then hands the mic over to someone on his sign-up sheet. Each poet or performer gets about three to five minutes of stage time. Occasionally, professional performers come in to try out new material, such as the folk singer, Emily Lord, who attended an "Open Mic" not too long ago. Some award winning poets attend weekly. The show lasts one hour, when the lights are turned off and the microphone stored until the next session.
Andy wishes to take "Open Mic" gradually to another level by hosting workshops on performing techniques, poetry and lyrical writings. Coming up on April 25th at 2:00pm, is an Open Mic dedicated to poetry, to celebrate Poetry Month. The idea of "Open Mic" has paid off for many amateur performers who wish to improve their stage confidence. Open Mic is a chance for everyone to have a few minutes in the spotlight. Who knows, maybe it will lead to fame and fortune! All are welcome at Open Mic!