Open Mic nights opens up stage

The area in front of the makeshift stage remained standing room only as MC and senior Keith Boylan energetically encouraged the crowd to “buy books!” and Marshall’s first Barnes & Noble Open Mic Night ended.

The event, which stretched from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 2 and raised more than $660 for the All-Night Grad Celebration, featured two poetry readings, the dance crew FcDc/Rhythm Ground Breakers and The Thirteenth Story, along with solo or two-person musical performances.

“I knew a lot of people were doing cutesy stuff,” said senior Carly Taylor, who read “The Nap Thief” by Shel Silverstein. “I wanted to mix it up a little.”

Senior Soe Lin, added that his group, FcDc/ Rhythm Ground Breakers, featured hip-hop music “so it stood out.” Lin added that the crowd was mainly composed of “parents … [who] went to see their kids perform.”

Sophomore Alex Fahrney, on the other hand, described the crowd as “awesome.” Fahrney plays bass for The Thirteenth Story, which also includes sophomore Derek Boylan and Jack Hales and freshman Zayan Ahmed. The band closed out the night with a five-song set and an encore.

“I hope we do it next year,” Fahrney said. “It was an awesome opportunity to share our music with our peers.”

The All Night Grad Party Committee is already investigating the possibility of another Open Mic Night this spring.

“Many people were asking when we would do another one,” committee co-chair Ellen Loszynski said. “It is worth doing just because it gives the students the chance to hang out in a great environment.”

The open mic night was the brainchild of Loszynski, co-chair Heather Riley, and Ramunda Young, Community Relations Manager of the Tysons Corner Barnes & Noble.

Young first e-mailed Riley with the idea of hosting an event to raise money for the All-Night Grad Party. Riley said she was enthusiastic about the idea.

Young proposed a book fair, but Loszynski suggested that “book fairs won’t fly,” she said.

Loszynski pitched an Open Mic Night, which Young described as “hip and kind of fun,” as an alternative. “I know how talented Marshall students are,” Loszynski said. “I’m a Marshall alum so this is totally awesome.”