On Sept. 5 the Residential Housing Association (RHA) hosted the first Open Mic Night of the fall 2020 semester. Previously hosted in the Student Center and then the Black Box Cabaret, the monthly event had its virtual debut on Zoom. Students showcased their talents while audio and visual assistant of California State University, Monterey Bay’s (CSUMB) World Theatre and emcee of the event Bill Steacy kept the energy high with jokes and trivia.
“It’s so great seeing and hearing all of the wonderful performers because they bring such good energy to our campus in a time when we really need to be uplifted,” Steacy said.
Liberal studies major and Open Mic Night veteran Sarah Leff kicked the night off by singing “Riptide” by Vance Joy. “Overall, it was interesting but I definitely prefer in person. Not being able to see people’s faces and reactions was a little difficult, but I still had fun,” Leff said.
Carolina Cisneros, a cinematic arts and technology transfer student, then gave a stunning performance of “O Mio Babbino Caro,” a soprano aria. Cisneros said she learned the song while singing in her community college choir. Compared with performing the song in person, Cisneros said “it’s not that different, just that there’s less people in front of me.”
Next in the lineup was music major Mariana Henke who brought her guitar to the virtual stage and performed an original song from her 2018 album “COLOR-BLIND.”
“Music is my way of telling stories and connecting with others,” Henke said. “Whether it is a live show or a song picked from Spotify, music tells stories. Stories of hope and strength, even heartbreak and sadness but no matter what the platform may be I think there is true magic in how a track can transform around us and give us something to connect with. Something that makes us feel a little more at home in the world.”
After Henke’s performance, Steacy and the audience asked for an encore. Henke obliged and played a new untitled track that she is currently working on.
Steacy ended the show with a family performance, playing alongside his daughter, Cece. The talented eight-year-old played the drums, the keyboard and the guitar while singing an originally written tune. Steacy said he is, “happy to say that Cece completely rocked it and can’t wait to do it again. In fact, she is writing a new song to perform at the Next Open Mic Night!”
Bringing events to a new virtual environment can be challenging, but to these performers, it was a rewarding experience. Henke said “performing virtually is something new for me, but any chance I have to share my work and hopefully connect with someone is a chance I will gladly take.”
Open Mic Night will return on the first Saturday of every month.