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Amature Musicians Club hosts open mic night

Members+of+the+band+Sleeveless+Jacket%2C+%28left+to+right%29+junior+Maddi+Jones%2C+senior+Natalie+Riecker%2C+junior+Maya+Toffler%2C+junior+Austin+Brown+and+freshman+Rocco+Ramos%2C+performed+during+the+first+open+mic+at+Bethel+Church.
Members of the band Sleeveless Jacket, (left to right) junior Maddi Jones, senior Natalie Riecker, junior Maya Toffler, junior Austin Brown and freshman Rocco Ramos, performed during the first open mic at Bethel Church.

Members of the band Sleeveless Jacket, (left to right) junior Maddi Jones, senior Natalie Riecker, junior Maya Toffler, junior Austin Brown and freshman Rocco Ramos, performed during the first open mic at Bethel Church.

Photo By Jude Demotte

Photo By Jude Demotte

Members of the band Sleeveless Jacket, (left to right) junior Maddi Jones, senior Natalie Riecker, junior Maya Toffler, junior Austin Brown and freshman Rocco Ramos, performed during the first open mic at Bethel Church.

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This Friday, York’s Amature Musicians club is hosting an open mic night at Bethel Church from 7 p.m. to about 9 p.m.

Photo by Jude Demotte
Sophomore Gabe Jentel (member of the Amature Musicians Club) practices during a Thursday after school meeting.

This will be the third open mic night the club has hosted with the two previous ones being held in October and November. These open mics are open to any kind of performer or spectator alike. The club is hoping to host one of these each month.

“The past few years I’ve been wanting to find a different place for the musicians club that’s more centered around teenagers,” said Christopher Gemkow, music teacher and sponsor of the Amature Musicians Club. “Not that I don’t like going to a venue that has a stage and a sound system that’s already prepared. Sometimes it’s really nice to have a place where the evening is catered to whatever the teenage experience is about on that particular night.”

Although the musicians club does a lot events throughout the year, the open mic night at Bethel Church is unique in its more relaxed nature and less school-connected environment. This is done intentionally to provide students with another style of venue to perform.

“Why did we need another thing, in addition to something like Java Live?” said Gemkow. “I do think it’s important for students to go to a place that’s not in school. Not that it’s not fun to come to York on a Friday night and go to Java Live; it’s a great opportunity. I think there should be opportunities everywhere. If you seperate an opening mic experience from the actual building, I think you’re going to have a different experience about playing music somewhere that’s not a school.”

In addition to being less connected with the school, the open mic is also a lot more student focused as opposed to many other gigs where adults are heavily involved.  

“Everything was pretty much student run,” said Gemkow. “I helped kind of put the word out and promote it. Ideally, I would like it to be something that is run by the students and promoted by the students. It’s a student led, student organized experience.”

Following with the goal of being student led, the open mic for November was hosted by senior Jimmy Chaudoin. He spoke to the audience between each act and introduced each performer.

“It is a lot more student based,” said senior Jimmy Chaudion. “Really the only thing teachers do is put the names of people that want to perform on the list and then they just gotta show up and open the doors. It’s a little bit different because usually, in highschool and middle school and just anytime you’re a kid, whenever you do anything it’s really adult run. So, really opening it up to high schoolers to run a show is pretty astounding.”

Photo By Jude Demotte
Members of the band Sleeveless Jacket, (left to right) junior Maddi Jones, senior Natalie Riecker, junior Maya Toffler, junior Austin Brown and freshman Rocco Ramos, performed during the first open mic at Bethel Church.

Chaudoin tried his best to not only keep the event student focused, but also comfortable for anyone who wanted to perform. This was especially important as these open mics are often the first opportunity for many of these musicians to play in front of an audience.

“My goal for the night was to introduce everyone in a comforting way,” said Chaudion. “It can be stressful, playing in front of a bunch of people that you might not necessarily know. A lot of people feel uncomfortable just being judged so I try to go up there and open myself up as much as possible to them. I try to make people as comfortable as possible getting onto the stage and being able to play their best show without the stress of stagefright.”

With the efforts of Gemkow and Chaudoin, the open mic successfully provided musicians with the opportunity to perform in a more laid back environment and share their art with a new audience.

“It was a lot more laid back with a less intimidating ‘stage’ area,” said Chris Rieger, senior and member of the band Rage Group. “I love having time to work on performance skills and sharing music.”

Giving students a relaxed venue to test out their skills, the Bethel Church open mic continues to attract musicians from the area to come out each month to express themselves and hear the music of others.

“The thing that made us want to perform at the open mic was the fact that we got to play music,”  said Rocco Ramos, freshman and member of the band Sleeveless Jacket. “We all love doing that and whenever there is an opportunity to do so, we go for it. We also loved hearing all kinds of music being played at the church.”

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Amature Musicians Club hosts open mic night