Lunchtime open mic brings student talent

By Monique Everett

The Music Department hosted a lunchtime concert featuring work from the Contemporary Ensemble and Collegiate Choir on Oct. 25 in the Syre auditorium for their monthly performance and open mic.

Melanie Sehman, Music Faculty, oversees all musical disciplines at Whatcom, and hosts the lunchtime concert.

“It’s a way for students to get some performance practice,” Sehman said. “They get to try out stuff they’ve been working on. It’s kind of like low-key performance practice without dire consequences.”

“I want to be a performer and haven’t really gotten a chance,” Kalina Bergeron said, a Whatcom student who played her original song at the open mic.

The Contemporary Ensemble played two songs to begin the concert. The first was an Indian Raga called “Raag Shivranjani” performed as an improvisation piece.

A Raga is a range of melodic structures and musical motifs and in Indian traditions is believed to color the mind while affecting the emotions of the audience.

Following the song “Raag Shivranjani,” was a jazz standard called “Almost Like Being in Love.”

Written by Frederick Loewe, the song was used as part of the score for the 1947 musical “Brigadoon,” and has been covered by many musicians making it an important part of the musical repertoire of jazz.

Students in the Contemporary Ensemble then performed their original pieces for the first time.

The Contemporary Ensemble and Collegiate Choir help students to meet other people interested in music, to make friends, and to use their brain creatively Sehman said.

Nick Justice, a student at Whatcom, played guitar and drums during the concert. Justice later performed Tom Petty’s song “Learning to Fly,” at the open mic.

“I’ve been playing music since I was five years old,” Justice said. “It’s the best artistic outlet. Music speaks on levels you could never describe in words.”

Taliesen Tyndall, a student at Whatcom, performed a poem he wrote depicting scenes from Standing Rock’s pipeline protests in North Dakota.

“My goal was to bring back writings and to share what we experienced. It’s artistic journalism,” Tyndall said.

Douglas Slater, a Whatcom student, recited a rap during the open mic.

“I’m trying to be the best to ever do it, desecrate the crudest while I elevate the truest, I’m trying to be the master but forever be the student,” Douglas said.

Sehman said one of her favorite things is to see her students go off into the world.

“I always say go I don’t want to see you anymore. I want you to go off into the world, finish your degree, like do stuff. I want to hear what you’re doing,” Sehman said.

On Nov. 15 there will be another lunchtime concert and open mic in the Syre Auditorium from noon to 1:00 p.m.

The Music Department will host a formal concert presenting work from the Contemporary Ensemble and Collegiate Choir in Heiner Theatre from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Nov. 30.

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