The Westfield Voice

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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

The Mic is Yours


Singers, comedians, poets, talented students of all kinds take to the Owl’s Nest stage to perform at open mic nights, hosted by the WSKB radio. 

Open mics are events where people can express themselves freely with whatever artistic outlet they chose. For many it’s a fun hobby, for others it’s a stepping stone to future career paths. 

“It’s a great breeding ground for musical, artistic, and just social conversation in general,” said Campbell Fackre, lead singer of the band Half-Tab.   

The WSKB radio hosts these events typically every other Wednesday from 7 to 9. Acts vary from aspiring professional musicians to people reading slam poetry they wrote earlier that day about their ex.  

“There’s never been a bad open mic. There’s always been great acts, great performers, great poetry, great everything,” said John Laurenti, Assistant General Manager at WSKB.  

Most people recognize Laurenti as the “open mic guy”, introducing acts and running the show at the events. Laurenti has seen the open mic audience grow steadily since he came on board. He noted they didn’t used to be as well advertised, but now the WSKB social media team is making sure to get the word out further than the campus-wide emails students often prematurely delete. 

Laurenti is the drummer for the band Half-Tab, along with singer/guitarist Campbell Fackre and bassist Alex Lehar. The three connected at open mics early in their college career.  

Soon after, they were recruited by WSKB alum Matt Chadwick, and have worked for the radio ever since. They recently released their first EP and have open mics to thank for bringing their band together.  

The WSKB radio students want to bring as many people as they can to the open mics and believe everyone should try and perform.  

“If it’s an issue of courage, then performing is really the main step that you can take to overcome that,” said Fackre. He says that once you’ve left the stage, your performance will have gone better than you think. “You will not regret it.” 

“One thing you have to be is you have to be open minded,” said Laurenti. He explained when people perform, they show you who they really are. People pour their hearts and souls out into their performances. 

 “It’s an incredible feeling to have people come up to you afterward and be like ‘this touched me emotionally’.” Said Cam Wade, WSKB’s music program director. Wade was originally an education major, but found his true calling through open mics. He switched into the communications major, joined the radio, and has been DJ-ing both on and off campus ever since. 

After singing a song he wrote about an abusive former relationship, Wade was shocked by the amount of love and support he got from open mic goers. People who had gone through similar experiences wanted him to know that he’s not alone.  

Other clubs host open mics as well, including Whip Comedy Improv, headed by Evan Bylund. “It’s a great outlet that helps tremendously with confidence and public speaking, and I believe anyone and everyone should give it a try,” Bylund said. 

Poet and COMM club President Niccole Camello also hopes to have her club host an open mic this semester. She sees open mics as a safe place to express herself, and also as a way to gain both confidence and valuable public speaking skills.  

“It’s just good to get used to talking in front of a crowd because when you grow up and you have a real job you’re gonna want the balls, you know? You’re gonna need those balls.” Before she found these events, Camello was too embarrassed to tell her friends she writes poetry; now she plans on publishing a book of her work.  

Those seeking an audience for their work, a friend group, an outlet for their frustration, or simply an entertaining night, open mic nights are worth checking out. The next WSKB hosted open mic night is scheduled for Wednesday, October 24 from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Owl’s Nest. 

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