TPL Open Mic Surprises

February’s Open Mic Night at the Twinsburg Public Library was held on the eve of an expected storm. T’burg schools had already been closed for the following day, but so far it was just raining: the weather wasn’t expected to get serious until overnight.

So the February 2 Open Mic Night went on as planned, with an announcement that we would omit the usual round of encores and get everyone out by 8:30. As we started, it seemed we had a small group; but somewhere in the evening we “snowballed” to 15 performers, and even without encores we ran a bit past 8:30.

We welcomed two new performers: Bob, who appears to have a way to use his guitar as the front end for a synthesizer; and Larny, who plays ukelele and harmonica (not at the same time.) Larny took down the house with a performance of Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet It Is” on the harmonica.

This month the quality of all the performances really seemed to have gone up a notch. All three of the challenges (love songs, Rod Stewart, and folk songs) were represented, and it seems that the sharing is helping us all to improve. One of the remarkable things about Open Mic is the encouraging, supportive culture; in a real sense, we become a circle of friends.

I have a wonderful Roland FP-60 keyboard, and I brought it last month. But it’s hard to rationalize that much setup when there’s a fairly good keyboard there at the library, so this month I just brought my amp and hooked it to their keyboard.

Balance between my voice and the piano has been a problem. I think I got a bit closer, but it’s still not right. Next month I think I’ll use my own mic hooked into the amp, so that I can work out the balance in practice rather than rely on a quick mic setup between sets.

Among this month’s challenges, you just know I had to go with love songs, although I did hear some nice Rod Stewart numbers I hadn’t thought of. I had a third love song ready, but it can be saved for a future opportunity. Recordings of my selections for this month:

  • “Night and Day” (because there’s always room for more Cole Porter); started a bit shaky, but ended up OK;
  • “The Twelfth of Never” (an interesting backstory, told in the recording; actually based on a 15th-century folk song).

The challenges for March 2 sound pretty exotic: Original Song; Worst or Best Song for a Father-Daughter wedding dance; and “Yacht Rock,” otherwise known as soft rock. Not in my wheelhouse, but we’ll see.

Southeast LWV Prepares Winter Meeting

Southeast LWV is a Chapter of League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland.

The Southeast League of Women Voters will hold its winter meeting at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, January 26.

The chapter is a nonpartisan resource for voters in the southeastern Cuyahoga County communities of Bedford, Bedford Heights, Oakwood Village, and Walton Hills. The chapter’s debut activity was a voter forum with Bedford School Board candidates in 2019. Last fall, the chapter hosted voter forums with candidates for Bedford School Board and Bedford Heights City Council and participated in a voter forum hosted by the Walton Hills Citizens League.

The national League (LWVUS) is one of the most prominent voter rights organizations in the United States. The League traces its roots to the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which was instrumental in the 1920 ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, granting voting rights to women. Although its name continues the League’s link to its historic origins, the League welcomes both men and women as members and leaders.

The Ohio League (LWVO) has been an active leader in supporting voter rights, and was one of the organizations behind the 2015 and 2018 constitutional amendments to outlaw gerrymandering of Ohio General Assembly and US Congressional districts.

The Southeast Chapter is the newest chapter within the Greater Cleveland League (LWVGC), which serves voters in Cuyahoga County.

The January meeting will provide an opportunity for a number of reports: on the continuing Fair Districts campaign and recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling, on the development of the LWV national program for 2022, and on Greater Cleveland voter activities. The meeting will also elect a nominating committee for elections to be held at the annual meeting in June.

The meeting will be held as a Zoom videoconference. Members of the public are welcome to attend as nonvoting guests and can get the online meeting credentials by sending an email to

Well, the Mic Was Open

Friends told me about the monthly Open Mic Night at the Twinsburg Public Library for some time. Finally, a year ago, I participated in one; I liked it and have been participating regularly. I find this very challenging because it’s so different from playing and singing at church: obviously the repertoire is different, and accompanying yourself is very different from accompanying a cantor, choir, or congregation.

Each month library director Laura Leonard announces some voluntary “challenges.” For January, those were 80s acoustic; Elvis; and Peter, Paul, and Mary. Not everyone participates in the monthly challenges, but most of us try to do at least one song that relates to at least one of the challenges.

Most participants are guitarist-singers, and I have the piano field mostly to myself. Performers are all supportive of each other’s efforts and tolerant of goofs, which was good for me because I had some concentration issues on two of the three songs.

TPL’s Open Mic starts with a round where each participant can do two songs. Then if there is time, we’ll have a second round where each participant can do one more song if they wish. I’ve learned to prepare three songs.

Here were my recordings, warts and all:

On February 2 (6:30 EST) the challenges are love songs (Valentine’s Day, natch), folk songs, and Rod Stewart. These events are free and open to the public. Over the past year they have been conducted on Zoom, outdoors, and indoors; presently February is scheduled for the library’s combined meeting room, which is big enough for plenty of social distancing.

You can see more about the event on the TPL calendar page at If they switch to Zoom because of the pandemic, that’s where the announcement will appear. Registration gets you a reminder and an update if anything changes.