Open mic nights first step for aspiring artists

By Clyde Davis: Local columnist

Why is the idea of holding an open mike event important to local singer/songwriter Jane (Begley)? said

“That’s how I got started. That was the first time I sang publicly — at an open mike in Louisville, Ky.”

As a result, the acoustic musician was hired to perform at a Louisville establishment’s happy hour, and her work as a professional entertainer was under way.

Winter is a good time to hold open mike events, and Hastings, where Jane and her guitar are frequent musical guests, is a warm venue in which to have them. For the record, an open mike event is an invitation to singer/songwriters, often though maybe not always acoustic, to try their work in front of a live, hopefully congenial audience.

Most of us cannot, at this time, see our way beyond the holiday season, but for the sake of your long January nights, try to. That is when open mike nights are scheduled to begin, at the Clovis Hastings, MC’d by Ms. Begley, who is also generous enough to allow the use of her sound system, where needed.

The tradition of live music, and of musicians bringing their music, new and practiced alike, to play and sing before others certainly dates back to the dim past.

For this Clovis musician, it has always been a way of getting her footing, finding a venue, getting acquainted with the area and the area talent.

In moving to Lexington, in relocating to Lubbock, Jane found open mikes to be a way of connecting with others to whom music was vital.

Thus the germinal idea for such events at Hastings, starting on a monthly basis and going from there. She encourages local talent to bring their instrument, their enthusiasm, and their original work, as the effort gets underway after the first of the year.

A couple or three songs, with a number and variety of performers, provides a real opportunity for the community to come together in support of the local talent. Surely, there will be a place for those of us who also come to sit, drink coffee, and clap enthusiastically.

Jane’s own students will very likely be involved in the open mike night. Her classes in beginning and intermediate guitar are also formational in how to become a musician, involving more than just playing music. Being a responsible part of a band, learning how to play backup for others or lead when it’s your song — these have nothing to do with learning notes but much to do with being professional. Certainly, those are lessons not just about music but about life.

We hear a lot of talk about beautifying and improving Clovis, about supporting our own talent and their efforts. Too often, when efforts are undertaken by local people, they don’t get the support they should, from the very people who lobby for such movement.

Come out in January, keep an eye on this column and at Hasting for more information, and make open mike nights at Hastings a success.