December, 9th, 2008
last updated December, 4th, 2013
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by Chris Sunami
- This is our primary activity. Typically our performers are vocalists, but we welcome acts of all types, including poetry, comedy, dance and theater. Unless we have an unusually short list of performers, we limited performers to one primary performance per evening, at a length of no more than 3 or 4 minutes.
- All able participants are expected to help with setting up the stage area, and also with putting away the equipment when the event is finished. Although this may seem like nothing more than a chore, it forms an important opportunity for teaching self-discipline, and group-responsibility, as well as for building a sense of “ownership” in the program. For these reasons, it is important to involve as many people as fully as possible, even if this proves difficult, tedious, time-consuming or unpopular.
- The setup crew is always acknowledged at the beginning and the end of each Open Mic or competition, and so are all other volunteers, such as the host, the vocal coach, the guest artist and the live band members. This provides encouragement and gratification to the volunteers, and builds a culture that values service to others as the way to gain status. The person who delivers the acknowledgments should not mention himself or herself, nor should the program director typically be acknowledged. This encourages people to be generous rather than selfish in their acknowledgments, and builds the idea that leadership is its own reward.
- After performances during Open Mic week, the audience is invited to offer comments on up to three of the acts they watched that evening. Positive feedback and constructive criticism motivate people to continue performing and to improve as performers.
- For competitions of this type, we have three judges who comment on each performance. At the end, the entire audience votes by secret ballot on their favorite performance.
- For competitions of this type, the audience votes by show of hands for titles such as “”Most Improved”, “Most Energy”, “Best Technique” and so forth.
- A concert is a publicized evening event featuring multiple performances by a limited number of selected performers. We have produced three concerts: “Orange Juice and Friends,” showcasing youth performers, and two other concerts featuring long-time Open Mic regulars plus several special guests. This is a chance to provide an extended, high visibility showcase for performers whose talent and hard work has elevated them towards a professional standard of performance.
- This is a once-a-year collaboration with Harmony On the South Side where Open Mic vocalists perform backed by a live band of professional musicians.
- This is a special performance filmed and edited for distribution via You Tube.
- Production of a studio-quality saleable recording featuring Open Mic songwriters and vocalists.
- A special teaching session with a guest artist.
- An open group singing session accompanied by Open Mic instrumentalists.
- An improvisational session for Open Mic instrumentalist.