The words “open mic” spark a gleam in the eyes of many Valencia High School (VHS) students. A student-run organization, Open Mic is a club that gathers performers and audiences in a classroom every other Friday for an afternoon of instrumental performances.
Open Mic occurs in Room 516 during lunchtime. Seven officers begin the meeting by announcing the list of performers; those interested can get on the list by contacting an officer prior to the meeting. Performers stand at the front of the classroom with an audience gathered on the floor and in desks, and the set list goes on until the lunch bell rings. A session usually involves five or so performances.
“I really enjoy performing in a relaxed setting. Everyone there is a fan of the arts and is really supportive, so it’s nice to feel at ease,” said Lauren Borchart, a VHS senior who performed with her a capella group Alt-7 on Friday, October 3, in an interview with JSR.
She continued, “Although Friday was my first performance with Alt-7, I’ve been performing at Open Mic since sophomore year. My very first time was a cover of ‘Radioactive’ [by Imagine Dragons] and I remember being extremely nervous. I have stage fright and, when I don’t think things are going to go perfectly, I freak out. But in the end, I really had nothing to worry about.”
In this laid-back setting, most of the performances involve spoken word or singing. Though most performers use voice with guitar, others perform with different instruments.
“I performed a cover of ‘Easy Living’ with the clarinet, which is pretty much a jazz standard,” said Eugene Kim, a VHS graduate, to JSR as he recalled his performance at Open Mic. “I wanted the clarinet to play the melody because I thought it was perfect for the song; however, I needed accompaniment. It was short notice so I decided to accompany myself.”
He continued, “During the live performance, I hit the ‘record’ button on my [electronic keyboard] and played the chords of the song while singing the melody. Then, I immediately hit ‘play’ while grabbing my clarinet and soloed over the playback of the chords.”
“Open Mic really gives you the opportunity to show your talents or your passion or even say anything you want to an audience that will listen to you. Everyone is encouraged to freely express themselves in a welcoming environment,” Kim said.
With over a hundred members, Open Mic continues to grow. If you’re a VHS student looking for an audience or a chance to listen to some serious talent, Open Mic offers a comfortable atmosphere every other Friday.