By Allison Brown
Thursday nights in the student center are lively. The promise of free food lures students out of their dorms for a chance to interact socially with other frazzled peers. Starting at 9:00pm students stand in a line that extends from the stairway, all the way around the corner, to get free pancakes. Along with the delicious food, there is usually an event in the student center café occurring at the same time. The most popular events seem to be the karaoke nights, as well as the open mic nights and with good reason. They are an informal talent show where people can perform a dramatic monologue, play an instrument, sing a song or show off unique talents. The draw for most students on campus to come to these events, seem to be to support their friends who will be performing that night.
This form of entertainment offers college students a way to speak out, advocate, lead, educate, and interact with their peers. By performing or speaking at a Thursday Night Café, a student’s confidence is built up. If a student is playing an instrument or singing and is a performing arts major, this gives them a constructive place to practice their craft. Beyond this rationale, the audience is treated to a night of relaxation away from the normal stress of college life. Sarah Henkel (’20), echoes this sentiment stating, “I like open mics because it gives a chance for my peers to shine,” Henkel continued, “people that I would never expect have the most amazing voices and I think it is a great way to show these hidden talents.”
An additional benefit to these open mic nights is the little planning that is needed on behalf of the staff. Unlike karaoke or bingo nights, no additional electronics or games pieces other than microphones are required. It is a relatively cheap way to get college students involved with their peers and the school.
It takes an overwhelming sense of courage to get up in front of people and perform. Speaking in front of college students can be a daunting task; even if these people are your friends. In order to show support as well as appreciation for the performers, there is a certain etiquette to follow. Generally speaking, respect of the space, audience and performer are paramount for an entertaining evening. Do not talk loudly over the musicians or make obvious gestures that you are not listening to the person in front. This will distract the performer and make them less likely to be their true selves. As far as those who will be going on the stage that night, do not apologize before you perform; it deters from the excitement of what you will be doing. Proving confidence is key to a lively night, Brooke Cochrane (‘18), shares “I like watching everyone get on stage confidently and have fun singing, or reading pieces of literature.”
Free pancakes and theater is the perfect solution to Thursday night boredom. Not only are the pancakes cooked to perfection, the talent witnessed at these open mic nights are astounding. Stefanie Dominquez, (‘18), discloses the reason she loves to watch her peers on stage is due to the fact that, “it gives them an opportunity to shine.” Open mic nights illustrate the talents of Eastern’s student body in an informal, positive setting, providing an uplifting way to end the week.