Students gather at Stirling’s Coffee House to celebrate music, poetry, stories, and more. Photo courtesy of The Music House’s Instagram, @sewaneemusic.
By Rego Jaquish
On the night of September 25, Stirling’s, a common coffee hangout for students, faculty, and staff, came alive with the sound of music and cheerful sounds from students. On that night, the Music House hosted an Open Mic Night featuring talented student musicians of various grades and instruments. Dozens of students gathered in the space to listen to fellow classmates display their talent, while enjoying tea and coffee, and the pleasant atmosphere.
One of the students there to listen was Samuel Carter (C’22), who said, “I thought it was a great break from studying to come and hear some of my fellow students perform.”
The performances lasted for about an hour and a half, during which time students heard performances from Vanessa Moss (C’20), who played a cover of Bob Dylan, and Audrey Gibbs (C’22), who performed an original song.
“Opportunities for students to mess around and mess up publicly is huge,” Moss pressed. “Open mics are such a supportive space, it’s a wonderful time to get to know people and see their talents. It’s just a celebration of putting yourself out there.”
“I’ve loved these open mics and I loved the open mics in my hometown so it’s a nice constant [tradition],” Gibbs said. “It’s [always been] a very welcoming environment with a lot of friendly people.”
According to Sophia Harnew-Spradley (C’22), co-director of The Music House, “open mic nights are not just for music.”
“It’s whatever you want to bring to the table,” Harnew-Spradley said. “We’ve had comedy, people reading poetry or personal stories. This was our first one this year and we’re hoping to do one every three weeks.”
“[The Music House] used to have open mic nights once a month or every couple of weeks and it was a nice way to unite the community,” Harnew-Spradley continued. “Even if you don’t want to perform you can come on out and listen to people.”
This sense of community was what stuck out the most that night. Everyone clapped and cheered for every performer, casually chatted between sets, and everyone was treated with respect and kindness. It was exactly the kind of night that any Sewanee student could enjoy — great food, great art, and great friends.