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.

Author: StgCoach

Retired teacher and public education leader. Pastoral musician, community activist, parliamentarian, and photographer.