“Your Story Open Mic” night returns on a virtual stage

By Sarah Siock

While entertainment venues may still be closed to the public, Rider students still have the chance to express themselves at the new virtual “Your Story Open Mic” nights.

The first-ever completely virtual “Your Story Open Mic” took place on Sept. 24 over Zoom. Students were allowed to submit a video of themselves performing any talent of their liking to be shown at the open mic night. There were no creative limitations and performances could range from a musical rendition to a stand-up comedy routine.

Traditionally, “Your Story Open Mic” is a monthly in-person event on campus. However, due to the coronavirus closures, open mic night stopped in March. Organizers of “Your Story Open Mic” felt it was important to bring the event back despite the virtual format.

“Continuing to hold open mic events will provide Rider students with an outlet to express themselves. I realized how much open mic night has helped my confidence over the years and I knew I had to keep the organization running,” said senior global supply chain management major and “Your Story Open Mic” President Steven Evans.

September’s open mic night was arranged with pre-recorded performances while an audience watched live. Each performer submitted a video of their talent and then Evans compiled them together to be shown at the open mic night. Evans said the pre-recorded performances resulted in the least amount of technical difficulties.

“When you record your performance beforehand, you get the opportunity to practice more and show off the best take of your performance,” he said.

This year’s “Your Story Open Mic” started small with just two performances.

Evans performed an acoustic version of the song “You Found Me” by The Fray and senior popular music major Catherine Rommel sang “My Everything” by Ariana Grande.

While organizers were happy with the outcome of the event, they said it was difficult to spread the word about the new format of “Your Story Open Mic.”

“A lot of students at Rider seem to be disengaged with clubs and organizations this semester due to online classes so we are going to try extra hard in the future to make this a show people don’t want to miss,” said senior political science major and Secretary of “Your Story Open Mic” Griffin Carnegie.

Senior marketing major and “Your Story Open Mic Night” Vice President Sarah Carbonaro envisions the virtual event expanding as the semester continues.

“When we hosted in-person open mics, there was so much pride the performers had and I loved the feeling of the energy in the room as the crowd got excited. When we were in person we were able to grow the attendance,” said Carbonaro. “We hope that we can do the same thing virtually. It is important to host this event despite the current situation because it keeps people’s spirits up.”

Carbonaro added that open mic night may shift to featuring live virtual performances later on in the semester. For now, there are plans for “Your Story Open Mic” to continue each month this semester.

“Although we will be missing the feeling of performing live with people watching in-person, we still provide an opportunity to showcase student talent. No pandemic can stop that,” said Evans.

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