The open mic is a rite of passage. Pretty much every performer I know has some fond memories of them. As a kid putting my name on the signup sheet, waiting nervously for my turn and then getting up in front of an audience and hearing my voice and guitar through the speakers is something I’ll never forget.
Open mics are a great way to get your feet wet and meet other musicians. Many bands have been started that way. For more-established musicians it’s an ideal place to try out new material and hear what other people are up to. My band has played open mics to get a feel for the music scene in new areas when we were on tour and had the night off. I once signed up for a comedy open mic at the Middle East in Cambridge just to see if I could do it. It might have been the longest two minutes of my life.
Samantha Bauer, president of the local nonprofit Inspiration is Everywhere, saw how much musicians she knew were missing the community experience of open mic and decided to try something that could be both safe and fun. On Tuesdays from 5 to 9 PM, Inspiration Is Everywhere, which has its office in Falmouth, will host an open mic with very limited capacity. Masks, social distancing and switchable microphone screens for performers will be used as a precaution. The event will be livestreamed on Facebook, Instagram and Twitch so music fans can take part from home.
Samantha said this fits into the mission of Inspiration is Everywhere, which is to fill in the gaps that larger nonprofits don’t cover by providing direct assistance to those who need it, having a small pantry on site and offering activities ranging from art and music to kung fu classes.
“We were hosting an open mic last year before the pandemic started that was doing really well. For some performers whether because they are younger or would prefer not to be around alcohol it’s nice to have an open mic somewhere other than a bar,” she said. “I remember this one kid who showed up and seemed so nervous but he performed and kept coming back. It obviously meant a lot to him. One time it turned into a big three-hour jam session with everyone playing together.”
Inspiration is Everywhere is also working on a weekly livestream concert every Wednesday night that would raise funds for out-of-work musicians.
“It’s an organic, living, breathing thing so we hope to keep adapting to the needs of the community,” Samantha explained, “and we hope this is something people enjoy.”
To sign up, call or text 504-699-6932. Performance slots are 10 minutes long and are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information on Inspiration is Everywhere visit the organization’s Facebook page.