Music, Poetry, Comedy Meet at Wesley Open Mic

Photos and Story by Justin Cooper

Wesley at Central Michigan University continues to encourage coming together and celebrating individuality with their Open Mic Nights.

Charlie Farnum, director of Wesley at CMU, says that only three open mic events were held last year, but this year Wesley is going to be holding them on the last Friday of every month.

Farnum says their long-term goal is to form a group that will attend “semi-regularly and [form] new connections with other people.”

Audience members at Wesley were treated to a varied set of performers at its Open Mic Night on Friday, Sept. 28.

Though there were only six performers, they didn’t leave anyone looking for more with stand-up comedy, poetry, music and dancing all making appearances among them.

Among these performances was Madi Pelak, who declaimed three poems of empowerment, love and hope, including a poem written when she was 14 years old, with acoustic guitar accompanist Liam Griffin. Pelak has been writing poetry since she was 12 years old.

Riley Anderson’s act was introduced as a “guitar shred,” but was actually a narrated walkthrough of a rock guitar performance. He built up to the higher range before increasing tempo and climatically working his way back down the neck of the guitar, playing three rapidly descending notes the whole way down. When he reached the bottom, he played one final chord and explained that at this point in the solo, the crowd goes wild.

The final act was a student who introduced himself as Gilbert, dancing first to “Disrespect” by Delilah, then a mashup of “Blood on the Dance Floor” and “Dangerous” by Michael Jackson.

Gilbert then made the spontaneous decision to introduce a new act: beatboxing. He took “instruments” out of an imaginary box, “throwing away” some that wouldn’t be useful. After setting up his invisible drum kit, he began “playing” the instruments, even going so far as “throwing” a piece of his kit into the audience and “catching” it back.

Gilbert unpacks his imaginary drum kit.

Whether you’re looking for entertainment or for an audience, the open mic events have a friendly and receptive atmosphere. They’re a great way to see the talent on campus, and to express yourself.

Farnum believes the most important part of Open Mic Nights is the great way it can foster community.

“All of our events are designed to bring CMU students into community of one form or another,” Farnum said. “We want to reach people from diverse backgrounds, and Open Mic nights tend to reach people that might not come to other events.”

The next Open Mic Night at Wesley will be held October 26 at 7:30 p.m. They are free to attend, free to perform and completely uncensored.