Open mic: open minds, open hearts

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I am deeply blessed to be part of the community of performers and fans who have gathered around the FireWorks open mic phenomenon. I say “part of the community” as an expression of my humility. Not wanting to toot my own horn here, brag that I am somehow the one responsible for this.

I did set the scene, invite in the musicians. But I haven’t taken part in the musical performances, save once a few years back. As the proprietor of the restaurant, I’m not an audience member. But I am certainly a fan.

And certainly as host, I am “on stage”. At times I grow weary of that role, being up there, having to talk in the gaps between performers, trying to be witty, entertaining, or at least, not too boring. Hosting has gotten easier, especially over the past year, as I’ve spent more time alone, “finding myself”, rediscovering that I have passions, goals, and even something worth saying.

My leadership of the event has evolved over time, learning what is needed from such an open forum, so that its overall impact on the restaurant is positive, complementing the food and service we offer, enhancing the experience of dinner patrons as well as open mic audience members. A few restrictions or rules became apparent, such as “no profanity”, only acoustic volume levels, no offensive content. Then the need to ask for a minimum purchase and entry fee for the contest.

At first, the few rebellious voices protested my “iron fist” – “Censorship!” they cried. Then the rebels went on their way, along with their cohorts who came but refused to support the establishment through a $2 minimum purchase.  Making more room.

The result: Performers got serious. Audience grew in size and loyalty. The quality of the show became one of the best events in Corvallis.  Performers share their music, their art, their voice, their passion, their love.  The feel of the show is that of a gathering of friends and family.  Every performer is cheered on, encouraged.  Something magical happens.

See for yourself. Come on down, if you are local to Corvallis. Or listen live every Monday, 9pm PST. The webcast link is on our site: http://southtownlive.com

And I am posting archives now and then of particularly good nights. Like this one for instance: http://southtownlive.com/musicarchives/fireworksopenmic011612.mp3

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