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Open mic night showcases variety of talent

Frank Marcum is a regular performer at Open Mic Night sponsored by Imagine Performing Arts. Contributed

By SETH WINSTEAD - news@newsexaminer.com

If you’re yearning for live, family-friendly entertainment this weekend, look no further than downtown.

Imagine Performing Arts will host its quarterly Open Mic Night at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Whitewater Valley Arts Association building, 402 Central Ave.

Open to anyone, the night’s entertainment can include a plethora of talents and performances for $5 admission. Performers get in free.

“Our open mic nights are a blend of all different types of performances,” Belinda Foreman, an Imagine Performing Arts board member, said.

Since the organization’s first Open Mic Night in 2014, it has occurred every three months, Foreman said. Performances have included storytelling, music, stand-up comedy and poetry readings. Content must be appropriate for a general audience.

“I think what attracts people is the diversity of it. When people write and perform their own music, poetry, an open mic is the perfect opportunity to do so,” Foreman said.

For one performer, it’s allowed her to rediscover a lost passion.

“It prompted me to start writing,” Carla Beard, another Imagine Performing Arts board member, said. “Before I went into teaching I wanted to be a writer. I did not go to college to be a writer, I went to be a teacher to get a job.”

Beyond participating as a teller of fictional stories, Beard plays a role in allowing the open mic performers to have more opportunities to be seen.

“I am in charge of ‘Imagine This,’ our TV channel,” on Channel 3, Beard said. “The other thing I do at open mic night is watch all the performers, and some of them are then invited to be on the television show. I invite the people whom I think would also do well on television, since some of the acts are wonderful for the intimate environment of a coffee house, but some won’t do as well on television.”

The event has also provided others with an opportunity to share their love of music.

“I grew up in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. I always had a love for the singer/songwriter style of music, and started writing my own songs,” Frank Marcum said.

Marcum performs regularly at open mic nights. He reconnected with a lost passion by attending the performances.

“My girlfriend back in the 1980s was into club/dance music, so she did not have an appreciation for anything with an acoustic guitar. I quit playing for almost 25 years. So then my daughter started dating a guy who played the guitar and as I watched him and saw how much love and enjoyment it can bring, I was reminded of how it made me feel.” 

The event serves as a creative component for the community. “There are creative people all over Connersville,” Beard said. “We need to help everyone have a safe outlet for their creativity. We can also provide them a supportive environment for that creative activity. This is a supportive environment for people who want to see if they are as creative as they think they might be” she added.

Beard offers this advice: “If you’re uncertain, come and watch the first time,” she said. “Applauding the performers is also an important skill. Come the first time and be a part of the audience, then come and perform; There’s room for spontaneity.”

LOOKING AHEAD

For information about Open Mic Night or Imagine Performing Arts, send email to Belinda Foreman at belindaforeman@hotmail.com or visit the IPA Facebook page.

For a calendar of other activities in the nearby Whitewater Valley, see Looking Ahead on Page A3.