Last Wednesday, the newly formed Rock ‘n Roll Congress held their first Open Mic Night for all ages at the Pioneer Church.
The event began at 5 p.m. and what followed was a showcase of local talent, veterans and youth. Several high school students played guitars and sang. For many of them, it was a first time. Brooke Calvert took up the guitar two months ago and handled the experience of performing quite well, behind a pair of sunglasses. Younger than Calvert was Jacob McCoy, who held court on stage, silencing the crowd with a single gesture and dedicating a song to a blushing girl in the back. Cattrall Patterson sang the crowd pleasing Bohemian Rhapsody, and his brother Reuben played a couple tunes on the accordian.
It was a warm and supportive environment. Joyce Orr’s practiced fingers trembled as she played an intricate song on her guitar. She spoke openly of her anxiety while the crowd urged her to continue. When she returned to her seat, three young men from the high school rushed over to her to congratulate her on her good work.
Sunrise Fletcher and Andrew Emlen played a couple beautiful tunes on the ukulele and the cello. Nance Collupy played the guitar and sang two songs. Two very young ladies sang My Favorite Things. Patrick Carrico played a couple originals with backup from Ben Vasion, Matt Miller and Ian Turner.
Jillian Weiss, the founder of Rock ‘n Roll Congress played a set with Levi Helms and Erick Friend.
There were many more willing to step up and perform and the event did not end until 8:30, three and a half happy hours after it began.
"It was one of the most hopeful experiences I’ve had in this community," Collupy said. "It was a breath of fresh air. It was a great opportunity for the young people to express themselves, as well as for the older people. To see that people make mistakes. It was a wonderful experience, even for me. I can see great things coming out of this Rock ‘n Roll Congress. I want to back it 100 percent,” said Nance Collupy.
There is another opportunity to listen to local talent or showcase your own this Friday at the Oasis Tavern at 7 p.m. for people age 21 and over. Sign up begins at 6:30 p.m.
Below, Reuben Patterson plays his accordion at the Open Mic Night. Photo by Diana Zimmerman.