Busy Night at the Open Mic

My last post about the Twinsburg Public Library Open Mic Nights mentioned the irony that in February, with bad weather expected, we actually had a big turnout. It was even busier in March, with 21 participants.

We had a bit more audience as well as more performers, and with each of us performing two numbers, audience members were there for three hours. Still, all seemed to enjoy the evening. (Or if not, they left.)

We had a flutist join us, performing a Bach air and a folk song, which added quite a variety to the performances.

Lately, I have been scheduled last (at my request) in the interest of reducing setup time. But now that I’m using my own mic and amp separate from the guitars, setup time isn’t an issue. I’m being encouraged to go back to taking my regular spot in the order we sign in at. I won’t mind that, and it will permit Tom Honsa to finish up the evening, which is fitting.

For my own numbers, I selected the challenge calling for the “Worst or Best Song for a Father-Daughter wedding dance,” and actually offered one of each.

  • For my first number, I chose “Unforgettable.” Nat King Cole recorded the classic version in 1951. I figure that the “virtual duet” released forty years later by his daughter Natalie qualifies it as among the best songs for a father-daughter wedding dance.
  • Since my second number would be the last of the night, I wanted something more lively. I offered “When I’m Not Near the Girl I Love,” from the 1947 musical Finian’s Rainbow, which is both uptempo AND thoroughly inappropriate as a father-daughter dance number. (You’ll have to listen to find out why.)

The challenges for April 6 are:

  • Teen Idol (Laura says, “anyone from Frank Sinatra to Leif Garrett! I’ll even allow a Backstreet Boys Cover!”);
  • Songs about rain-or rain in the title; and
  • Neil Diamond.

In case you missed it, the library has published this short video about Open Mic Nights, which gives a good idea what they’re like and also explores the origins of the event at TPL.

‘Bye for now.

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 southeast@lwvgreatercleveland.org.