Some would say Goucher is filled with talent, ranging from music to poetry. On Feb. 18 there was an opportunity to see for yourself: For two hours the Gopher Hole hosted an Open Mic Night. Events like these are not as frequent as they were three years ago, but there were enough attendees and participants to make up for lost time.
At 9 p.m., our student-run coffee house was filled with students of every year. Some clambered toward the sign-up sheet, eager to unveil their personal art; others sat with open eyes and ears as the guest MC Meshelle, aka “The Indie Mom of Comedy,” kicked the night off with a few laughs.
“There’s something I really respect in college people,” Meshelle said. “How they take all their pain and complexity, and turn it into something creative.”
Stereotype or not, this defined the night: roughly nine performers stepped up to the mic and under the spotlight to grace the audience with homemade comedy (topics spanning from masturbation to religion), poetry (which dared to disturb the universe), and music (as in ukuleles). Some acts were lighter-hearted than others, but all were heavy with the performers’ personal views and truths.
Our guest Indie Mom was blown away. “Everyone was so transparent,” Meshelle said. “Walking up to the mic and being this bold. I haven’t done this in years, and it’s great to see this much expression in one place.”
The event itself was organized by Alysha Cunningham ’12, Vice President of Umoja and a Community Assistant.
“We didn’t hear about the open mic until a week before it was to take place,” Cunningham said. “So we had to work quickly.”
In order to promote the event, Cunningham met with her fellow Community Assistants and collectively spread the word in their respective houses via email.
Umoja also turned to the programming board for outside connections; a handful of guest speakers attended in the end. From the host Meshelle, to Baltimore poet Slangston Hughs. The end product was a room full of just as much diversity as expression.
“Black History Month means unity,” Cunningham said. “We wanted to uphold a ‘Harlem Renaissance’ theme, but at the same time, art and poetry are for everybody. Having such a mixed audience was great.”
The event may have been two hours, but some audience members left with a lifetime’s worth of perspectives.
“Last night helped strengthen cultural bonds,” resident poet Noah Klein ’14 said. “Not just in the Goucher community, but within students individually. Art is, above all, a tool that helps you understand yourself.”
Last Saturday’s Open Mic Night brought Goucher students and visitors together for one night in a rare opportunity for them to show us pieces of their worlds.