• Wednesday , 29 June 2022

Planning to attend open mic night? Book ahead

Open mic audience. Photo Peter McLaughlin

Paula McLaughlin

The Peachland Community Arts Council has begun a new local event to celebrate the performing arts, in the form of an open mic evening. These have been held in the Peachland Art Gallery since last July, and we have just had our fourth event within the year. Despite COVID restrictions, organizers went ahead with the plans, hoping that even a small audience would appreciate a local live event. The first open mic had limited numbers, but with a strong response, we were able to hold two separate sessions of 25 people in each. This required emptying the gallery, cleaning all surfaces to follow COVID protocol, and serving refreshments in individual portions. However, it was a great success, with a variety of artists on piano, guitar, and vocals. We had a range of ages too, from Chloe Thompson, age nine, to Betty Sim, age “90” (or so). After the show, Betty stopped to encourage Chloe to “keep singing, all your life!”

We have been delighted to have our local Hainle Winery in attendance to serve wine for purchase during the evenings. The atmosphere has been one of enthusiastic support for our local performers, who are now coming from other communities in the Okanagan as well. The excellent acoustics in the hall, and beautiful art on the gallery walls create a very special and intimate ambience. It really is a perfect venue for an event such as this.

Now that we have hosted four events, the momentum has built up, and performers are excited to return for another open mic, with new pieces to offer. We have also featured poetry and comedy in the program to welcome artists of all types. The musical performances have been very diverse, from solos on piano and guitar, to string ensembles, duets, and vocal arrangements. We have heard everything from blues to rock, folk songs to classical repertoire. We also try to leave some time for unexpected performances from the audience, when someone gets the inspiration to jump in. This is always a welcome and pleasant surprise, and that’s the meaning of the “open mic!”

The only challenge the open mic has had is in keeping our numbers to a reasonable size, as the art gallery has capacity for around 70 in total. If people are interested in attending, it is necessary to reserve seats ahead of time, by contacting me at peterpaula76@gmail.com or by calling the gallery directly at 250 767 7422. Our next event will be on Thursday, June 16, beginning at 7 p.m. As always, refreshments will be provided, and wine will be available for purchase from Hainle Winery.

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